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Georgia 44, U.s. 41, Us 39, United States 33, Florida 32, New York 31, Ms. Ros-lehtinen 25, America 23, Libya 22, Iran 20, Romney 19, Texas 19, Michigan 18, Mr. Levin 17, Washington 17, Afghanistan 15, Mr. Miller 14, Mr. Engel 14, Ohio 13, Obama 13,
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  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News  News/Business. Live  
   coverage of House proceedings.  

    September 19, 2012
    1:00 - 5:00pm EDT  

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we do these polls -- find it amazing we poll all these people. but 45% of the people vote republican. and we have the responsibility -- they only focus one area of the world. that's it. we have so much money in the military. this is a couple years ago, we had aircraft carriers and the chinese pulled up behind us in a diesel sub, superquiet, and -- the list goes on. our air force is older and smaller than any time since 1947 when the air force was born.
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[inaudible] >> if we follow europe which is spending 1% to 2% of their economy on the military -- [inaudible] . obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains, i mean -- they are going to be speaking in october on those issues. they will probably be looking at what the polls are saying. the markets should not be terribly happy. [inaudible] but my own view is if we win on november 6 there will be a great deal of optimism about this country. we will see capital come back.
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without actually doing anything, we can get a boost in the economy. if the president gets re-elected, i don't know what will happen. the exact opposite i would have expected. if we get the tax again as they call it on january 1 with this president and with a congress that can't work together, it's really frightening, really friening in my view. >> 54% of americans [inaudible] . when i fers met you four, five years ago, you said, look, there is a small group -- [inaudible] how do you win 54% of the voters say the economy is [inaudible]
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i want you to talk to people that actually reads the paper and reads a book and cares about knowing the facts and knowledge is power as opposed to people who are suede by what sounds good at the moment. [inaudible] >> well, the viewpoint of what has to happen in the country and people who are fascinated by policy will read the book. a whole series of issues that i care about. i have to tell you, i don't think this will have an input on my electibility. i think our ads will have a much bigger impact and the debate will have a big impact.
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but that's my point. big right. early is not good in politics. in a setting like this, a highly intellectual discussion of a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections. this president won because of hope and change. all right. [inaudible] [laughter] and i say i have a team of extraordinary experienced, highly experienced consultants. a couple people in particular who have done races around the world. i didn't realize, these guys in the u.s., they do races all over the world. in armenia, africa, israel. they do these races and see which ads work and which
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process has worked best and we have ideas of what we do over the course of the campaign. i tell it to you but i have a future. [laughter] hopefully we'll be successful. one of the aspects that worked well for obama four years ago is he promised to bring us more honest government. i've been around politics. [inaudible] the government in washington right now is permeated by cronyism, outright corruption and regulatory agencies, protecting the people they are supposed to be regulating. doesn't matter if you're in the tea party or occupy wall street, people see the government is working for the powerful interests and people who are well connected politically and not connected to the regular person. we have this great opportunity.
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[inaudible] one way to compromise is when government is no longer seen as this -- where our tax dollars are not being put to work for us but for the people who are politically involved. you have cases like solyndra which i talk about, eric holder is probably the most corrupt attorney general that we've had ever in american history. and i think it's something that can resonate with the american people about these promises. nancy pelosi, who was supposed to give us the most honest congress -- i'm opportunistic that my recommendation would be clean house immediately. the s.e.c. is a disaster area. >> [inaudible]
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>> i can say this and i'm sure you'll agree with this as well which is we speak with voters across the country about their perceptions. the people i told you the 5%, 6%, 7% that we have to bring up on our side, they all voted for barack obama four years ago. so by the way, when you say to them, do you think barack obama is a failure, they will say no. they like him. but when you say, are you disappointed his policies didn't work and they say yes. because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong. they're the bad guys. they do bad things and they're corrupt. those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing but he is [inaudible] they love the phrase he's in over his head. but you see, you and i, we spend our days with people who
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agree with us. and these people are people who voted for him and don't agree with us. and so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. and the best success i have with those people saying the president has been a disappointment. he told you unemployment would be below 8%. it hasn't been below 8%. 50% of kids coming out of school can't get a job. 50% of the kids out of high school in our 50 largest city all graduate from high school. what are they going to do? these are the kinds of things that i can say to that audience saying, yeah, i think you're right. what he's going to do is villeify me is someone who has been successful. i'm an evil, bad guy. and that may work. i think right now people are saying, i want somebody who can make things better. that's what -- that's going to motivate me. who can get jobs for my kids
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and get rising incomes. >> i've seen obama on talk shows. i've [inaudible] >> well, thank you. i have been on "the view" twice now. [laughter] regis is gone. i love the evening shows.
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i've been on "letterman" a couple times. i've been on "leno" more than a couple of times and now letterman hates me because i've been on leno more. i was asked to go on "saturday night live." i did not do that in part because you want to show that you're fun and you're a good person but you also want to be presidential. and "saturday night live" has the potential of looking slap stick and not presidential. but "the view" is fine. although "the view" is high risk because of the women all they want is conservative -- sharp tongue and not conservative. whoopi goldberg in particular although last month on the show she said, you know what, i think i could vote for you. i said, i must have done something really wrong.
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>> i think a media strategy [inaudible] >> you go on "good morning america" and really get people i think the women connecting to you. >> i think you're right. absolutely right. we -- so people tonight get
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tired of her or start attacking. >> who gets tired of ann? [laughter] >> but you will see more of her in the september, october time frame. and, you know, rosen who that made ann much more visible for the american people. it gave her a platform. and i agree with you. i think she will be very, very helpful. >> it is the value of networking and how important ann is to you. i think she is -- [inaudible] >> she's out there. she was in louisiana last night. she's raising money in those
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places. she was at crenshaw's house for dinner for a benefit. [inaudible] thank you. [applause] >> since the release of the video, the romney campaign has released this statement. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> well, there was reaction today on the senate floor as the senate gaveled in.
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majority leader harry reid and the majority whip, richard durbin, responding to the mother jones video. >> i believe mitt romney wants to be president of all of the united states. this week we learned mitt romney wants to be president of half of the united states. if mitt romney were president, he weent waste time worrying about the 47% of americans who he believes are victims, who romney believes are unwilling to take personal responsibility and those are his words, madam president, not mine. he'll only worry about how the other half lives, i guess. that's what mitt romney told a group of wealthy donor at a closed door fundraiser in florida a month or so ago. but it turns out it wasn't closed. someone videotaped every word he said to his wealthy donors. but this is among other things what he said and this is a quote. "there are 47% who are dependent upon government, who believe that they're victims,
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who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it." mitt romney said his job as president would not be to, "worry about those people." but half of americans are those people. he went on to say, "i'll never convince them" -- this is a direct quote, "i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." madam president, who are those americans mitt romney says are victims and those people? they're not avoiding their tax bills using cayman island tax shelters and swiss bank accounts like mitt romney. millions of the 47% are seniors on social security who don't have capital retirement funds or stock to fall back on.
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many of the 47% are students reaching to a four-year university to become nurses or teachers or become a electrician or welder or lab technician. some of the 47% have disabilities whose challenges are already a full-time job. but still are actively seeking opportunities in their lives. millions more of this 47% have been employed since the great recession. not because they're freeloaders or can't be bothered to get a job but because some private equity funds closed the factory, shipped their jobs off to china. large numbers in the 47% are active duty members of the military fighting for their country overseas. more of the 47% are veterans getting an education earned through dedicated service. many of the 47% are mothers and fathers working minimum wage jobs but still struggling,
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struggling every day. others of the 47% are middle class families raising children with a little helped from earned income tax credit and the child tax credit. a hand of republicans once bragged helped enact. and by the way, signed into law by that liberal ronald reagan. the 47% are ordinary, hardworking americans who deserve respect, especially from a man who wants to be their president. and these americans pay a slew of other taxes. state income tax, payroll taxes , property tax, sales tax. but in mitt romney's view, they still don't pay enough. so let's ask a question. whose taxes would mitt romney raise? would mitt romney raise taxes on retirees who paid in social security all their lives and are counting on it to get through their golden years? that's a question. another question. would mitt romney raise taxes
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on mothers and fathers who work hard but still struggle to put food in their children's mouths? ronald reagan thought they were certain people who need a little help and shouldn't do that. i agree with ronald reagan. would romney raise taxes on middle class families stretching to afford diapers and daycare at the same time? e? would romney raise taxes on americans with disability striving to live full and productive lives? would romney raise taxes on students stretching every dollar to afford tuition? would romney raise taxes on men and women serving overseas in the military who make untold sacrifices, deserve american freedom and -- to preserve american freedom and democracy, not because they're getting rich but out of a deep sense of duty? so whose taxes would mitt romney raise? we know he wouldn't raise taxes for millionaires or billionaires or companies that ship jobs overseas. he's made that very clear. if you are a math teacher or a maid or a single mother, it won't be mitt rom nigh's jobs to worry about you. if you are a mult imillionaire,
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mitt romney won't rest until you get a quarter million dollar tax cut. that's what the ryan budget does. for all we know, mitt romney could be one of those who has paid no federal income tax. thousands of families make more than $1 million and paying in in federal income taxes each year. thousands of families make more than a million dollars a year paying in in federal income taxes. is mitt romney among those? we'll never know since he refuses to release his tax returns for the years before he was running for president. but from that one return -- the only one we've seen -- we know mitt romney pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families, thanks to a number of things he's done -- swiss bank accounts, cayman islands tax shl terse -- and we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the american people a dozen years of tax returns, like his dad did. mitt romney believes in two sets of rules; one for millionaires
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and another for the middle class and the poor. if you have money to hide in bermuda and switzerland, can'ted to to pay a few pennies more to balance the budget? mitt romney says "no." but if you are retired, poor, disabled, student, or even returning hero who fought for their country, romney believes you can afford to pay more taxes. this rare look at the real mitt romney dhrb rare look that we grot a man who was at a fund-raiser for him -- proves one thing: he is completely out of touch with average americans. and if he won't stand up and fight for every american as president, then he doesn't deserve to chairman -- madam president, bill daly is ausinessman in chicago and a few years back he was the chairman of the al gore presidential campaign. we all know how the campaign ended in a florida recount. biwas contacted several years later by those who wanted to run
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for president. they made their trip to chicago and asked bill if he could give them some insight into what it was all about, how you'd win. and bill said to them one and all, the same thing. i'm not sure i have any special strategy to tell you but there's one thing i've discovered over the years. by the end of theth president yam campaign the american people will know who you really are. i thought that was very simply and and directly stated. by bill daily and reflected the fact that although every candidate at every level tries to surround himself or herself with the wisest people in kristendom to give advice on polling and media and analyzing the electorate and the right words to be said, that more so in the presidential campaign than almost any other, by the end of the campaign the american people know who you really are. the revelations into a person's values and character are not
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those well scripted ads or even those flowery speeches. the revelations come from observing that person in good times and bad and perhaps hearing the unguarded comments which give you an insight into what they tnk when the camera's not on. that is why this release of a video of mitt romney has had such an impact on america. what he said at a fundraiser in boca raton, florida, to some very wealthy supporters on may 17, 2012, bears repeating in specific detail. here's what he said. there were 47% of the people who will vote for the president nothd no matter what. all right, there are 47% who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for
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them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to y name it. that's an entitlement, and the government should give it to them and they will vote for this president no matter what. these are people who pay no income tax. my job -- this is mitt romney speaking -- is not to worry about those people. i'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," -- end of quote." it was a moment of candor by romney in a roomful of friends about his view of america and it has become a centerpiece of this week's debate in the presidential campaign. not just because he was caught in an off moment or with an embarrassing statement but the fact that since then he's not retracted, he's not backed off of those statements. his first press conference when confronted, he said he was -- quote -- "inelegant in the way he spoke."
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well, aconsuming -- assuming that he meant inelegant and not lacking eloquence, i would say he has had enough time to develop an elegant reply and we haven't heard it. i think there is more truth than not in what he says when he comes to his point of view of this country. and it's no surprise when you look back to those other unguarded moments and things he said during the course of the campaign. we remember the highlights. corporations are people, my friend, he said. i like being able to fire people, he said. i'm not concerned about the very poor, romney said. i'm also unemployed, romney said. and drives a couple cadillacs, romney said. 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet, he said. i have some great friends that are nascar team owners, he
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said. i was bill kristol who wrote recently, i believe it was yestday in "the standard" a response in which he was critical both of president obama but also of governor romney. here's what he said, bill kristol,ne of the preeminent conservative spokesmen in america. in response to romney's revelation at the boca raton fundraiser. kristol wrote it's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47% who don't pay income tax are romney supporters, especially seniors who might believe they're entitled to health care, a position romney agrees with as well as lower-income americans including men and women serving in the military who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the romney plan. so romney seems to have contempt not just for democrats who oppose him but for tens of
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millions who intend to vote for him" -- end of quote from bill kristol. this was a revelation into his values and his view of america. but it also tells us that he doesn't understand this country and the people who live in it. because when we take close look at those in the 47%, here is whom -- who we find. the elderly, working families with children and low wage earners. that's the 47%. the elderly, one in five of the elderly are in the 47%. these americans don't owe any federal income tax because of a long-standing policy choice that modest social security benefits should not be taxed. does romney oppose that? does he wants want to tax social security benefits so these will be responsible, nonvictims in his view of america?
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now let's turn to loic working families with children. they make up approximately one out of six people in the 47%. they benefit from the earned nangs credit. it was an incentive for them to go to work realizing they don't make that much money working we give them a break in the tax code to help them get by. as the majority leader intention mentioned earlier this notion came out under president ronald reagan. ronald reagan said this will -- quote -- "remove six million poor people from the income tax rolls making it one of the most effective antipoverty programs in our history" -- end of quote. these so-called victims and irsponsible under romney's analysis, is he suggesting the earned income tax credit has to go? when you take a look at these people whoake up the 47% in america, you understand that many of them have paid their
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dues, veterans on disability may not be paying income taxes, they're part of the 47%. people who are middle-income families whose kids borrow honey, are turning to the government for help when they want to put their kids through school. i'll close because i know my colleagues are coming to the floor here a that there is one thing that leapt off the page when i read this quote from boaka ca ra tone. it appears romney makes his judgments based on income tax returns. historically american voters have made judgment of candidat based on income tax returns. the man who set the gold standard followed for decades in america in presidential races was mitt romney's father, george romney, former governor of michigan. he disclosed 1 years of income tax returns and he said don't give me one year. that doesn't tell me anything.
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one year might look good. give me 12 years and i can decide whether this person is paying taxes as they should and ma a value judgment accordingly. well, the son didn't learn from the father. over the past 36 years, willard mitt romney holds the distinction of all presidential candidates ofither political party of having me the least disclosu of income tax returns of a presidential candidate. one year. promises another but one year. what did this one year reveal? it revealed he'll be the first presidential candidate in the history of the united states of america with a swiss bank account. i've asked business leaders across america, why would you have a swiss bank account? i asked warren buffett. he's one of the wealthiest men in our country. have you ever had a swiss bank account? he said no, there are perfectly good banks in the united states. then i asked business leaders
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seriously:, why would youave a swiss bank account? two reasons. you want to conceal what you have and the transactions that led up to your acquiring it, or secondly you believe the swiss franc is a stronger currency than the u.s. dollar. i might adds that mitt romney created a swiss bank account under george w. bush's administration. secondly, the offshore tax shelters in the cayman islands and bermuda. whyo have you those? to avoid tax liability in the united states. i don't know what's in mitt romney's income tax returns. there must be something in there he doesn't want america to see because he is defying all of the calls to go public with the income tax returns. or income tax -- are income tax returns important? in boca raton, he judged 47% of the american people based on their income tax returns. we should judge mitt romney based on his income tax returns r his refusal to disclose them.
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>> from earlier today.lose them. the senate is back at 2:15. here on c-span, the senate -- the house gavels back in. over two dozen bills on the agenda today, including one honoring the diplomats killed in libya, in benghazi last week, and the re-authorization today of the federal emergency management agency. live coverage here on c-span at 2:00 p.m. eastern. host: the chair of the hamilton county, ohio, democratic party, tim. in cincinnati. and the republican party chair, alexander, from hamilton county. and from columbus, ohio, is jim, the political correspondent for wbnf-tv, the cbs affiliate in that city. gentlemen, thank you very much
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for being with us. jim heath, let me begin with you. hamilton county, ohio, has traditionally been a republican county, 1968 through 2004, a traditional republican county. in 2008 it went democratic. barack obama winning by 29,000 votes. what changed? >> well, a lot of republicans moved out of hamilton county into surrounding counties, steve, but there's one thing for certain in this election like past elections, the southwestern corner of ohio will be pivotal for mitt romney. he's got to get that back. he's got to perform better in hamilton county than john mccain did four years ago and there's every expectation that will happen. i think that a lot of ohio republicans will privately admit that they wish that rob had been on the ticket. portman has a heavy presence and background in hamilton county in the southwestern corner of the state. it would almost assure that the romney ticket would be very successful there and it probably would have put a shot of enthusiasm into republican activists that would not be measured by polls. i know the polls were showing
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that portman was a marginal help in ohio, but i don't quite believe them because i think the enthusiasm level would have been up. at the end of the day a lot of republicans have moved hamilton county but they are still very heavy in the southwestern corner. as democrats lead cuyahoga county and the southeast, they must have the southwest corner to win the state. host: give us the larger sense of politics in ohio and what they face in the ground game? >> i attended both conventions, reported from both. what fascinated me in tampa the republican stratevists say they'll go after the undecided voters in the state. there's probably, steve, about 5%, truly, of ohioans that are quote-unquote undecided. republicans are trying to spend heavily to get them because they believe the undecided voter in this election cycle, if they're not with president obama already they probably aren't going to be with him. the flip side of that in charlotte, the democrats privately began to say they are less concerned winning over
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those undecided vorts and now they want to get out their base. they believe if they can do what they did last year in senate bill 5 which was a very controversial issue, if they can get out the same vote they did to repeal that very controversial anti-union bill, they did that with 61% of the vote last november, if they can do that again, that they will have a very successful effort for president obama. so the republicans i think it's their ground game plus trying to play for the undecided voter. for democrats it's trying to get out their vote. unions, minorities, women, students try to reinvigorate their base in order to get out their s.b. 5 vote a year ago. host: tim, the chairman of the democratic party in hamilton county, ohio. give us a sense of the political demographics in your state, in your county, i should say, and how it's changing. >> this county is almost a 50/50 county now between the
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two parties. the city of cincinnati is very heavily democrat. the outside of the city, rest of the county leans more republican. but we feel very good about what the democrats are going to do and how president obama will perform in the county this year. we believe that hamilton county will go blue again this year. we've already got eight offices open for president obama. and we've literally got hundreds of volunteers on the phones and out going door to door every day. host: alex from the republican side, hamilton county, cincinnati, what are the demographics? >> demographics have shifted. i think chairman burke's assessment of the county is true. i think jim said it appropriately as well. this is a close county. president obama did win this county four years ago. however, john, our governor, turned around and won this county again in 2010 so the demographics are -- make this a
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very close county. you know, we feel similarly confident, frankly. we feel like we got terrific energy on our side that we've not had in the last couple of years. there's the tea party's energized conservatives in this part of the state, particularly in this county. so we got lots of activists on the ground. again, we feel pretty confident. host: at the moment the polls numbers showing that the president is ahead of mitt romney in ohio. why is that? >> well, here's how we see that. we think that a lot of these polls -- first, we think the incumbent is -- the undecided vote will break for our candidate so i think it's a challenge to get people to try to fire the incumbent candidate. the president has had a good week but i think by the end of these three debates people will ask themselves, are you better off now than you were four
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years ago and does this president deserve a second term? of course we don't think that he du. we think we're making that case as we canvas both here in hamilton county, steve, we're talking to a lot of voters that were for the president last time and will not be again. we are not finding the opposite to be true this time. host: let me ask you about the economics of hamilton county. how's it doing, what's the unemployment rate in the county and how will that result in november? >> let me speak of ohio in general. i think that president obama is doing so well right now as a number of foundations the biggest one of which may very well be the auto rescue because about 750,000 jobs in ohio, many right here in southwest ohio, depend upon the auto industry. and the fact that that's come back as strongly as it is actually has ohio doing better than the national economy is doing. and just yesterday we had
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president obama here and the individual who introduced him came from one of the local steel plants that produces a lot of steel for the automobile industry. that means a great deal for the middle class workers. and i think that's who president obama is successfully speaking to in this election campaign. host: steve, could i just -- >> steve, could i ask very quickly that it's created a very interesting dynamic politically this year. the earlier part of the year before super tuesday i was covering governor romney in places like lorena, ohio, where he was campaigning and shut down steel mills and manufacturing plants that had closed. the kasich team not very happy about that because their narrative for the state is we have an unemployment rate of four-point lower than the national average. kasich wants to portray ohio -- and the romney campaign is avoiding that discussion altogether. so both republicans and democrats trying to take credit for an improving economic
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picture in this state. the difference is president obama is first up on the ohio ballot this year. john kasich's going to have to wait two years. host: let me go back to the issue of the ground game. we hear about this every two to four years the get out the vote effort. from your honest assessment and, tim burke, we'll go to you afterwards, how important is that in a presidential election and how much does that sway people who may be undecided to, yes, i'm going to vote for this candidate because i received a flier or received a phone call or somebody knocked on my door? >> i think the both sides probably bought into this idea that talking to and touching for lack of a better word undecided voters in their neighborhoods by their neighbors, by other people can really swing voters. we have bought into that program. i think we did it pretty effectively in 2004. i think the president, his team did it pretty well in 2008. i think we got some of that momentum back. so we think that talking to voters, knocking on the door, having a conversation,
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surveying them, identifying them and later making sure they get to the polls when we know that they're with us that we think that's a really important way to swing the electorate. so we are fully engaged in that process in hamilton county. host: tim burke, your assessment again on a national campaign of a presidential election, how important, how much does this sway the voter? >> for democrats in particular it's critical. it's critical to build toward and then execute a get out the vote operation, to get our voters out to the polls. the good thing about the obama ground game is it's been in place for the last four years. it really got an extraordinary tune-up last year with s.b. 5 and then the referendum to force the repeal of the voter suppression legislation by the republican party. but the obama ground campaign is an incredibly sophisticated, not only have they been out touching voters, as alex talked about, but they're recording that information so as we roll in to the gote operation in the next few weeks we know exactly who we need to get to the
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polls. host: jim heath, as the polls come in, as the numbers come in on election night, let's walk two scenarios. the first scenario is that mitt romney wins ohio. what does that tell you about what we can expect on tuesday, november 6? >> i think he'll be president. i think ohio, the way ohio goes will determine that. ohio has the longest streak of picking the correct presidential winner. no republican has ever won the white house without ohio. it's been since john f. kennedy that a democrat's been able to win without ohio. so i just think it's a pivotal state because i think it's probably the best brooment, the best political barometer in the country. on election night, romney's going to have to do very well for those early votes coming from the southwestern part of the state. we'll see how both of these candidates do in central ohio where i'm at which is referred to the swingiest part of the swing state and then we'll see what the ground game that tim was talking about. we'll see how good that was, is for president obama in the northeast part of the state in cleveland.
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typically republicans jump out in the lead early and then it's a question of whether democrats get out the vote and the cuyahoga county votes come in and whether they have enough strength to kind of overturn it. it's going to be a fascinating night. we all expect it a long night. we hear this all the time but i honestly believe it. as ohio goes, so will go the presidency. host: so just to be fair, if you think barack obama wins ohio it's over? >> there's no way mathematically they can get to 270 electoral votes without the 18 from ohio, the romney campaign, i talked to kevin madden, one of the senior strategists last week, he told me there's a strategy to win wisconsin. those polls are very tough. wisconsin has 10 electoral votes. they have to win ohio, new hampshire. it's like a multipack to make up for losing ohio. i don't see taking that risk if they lose here, i just think that obama will be re-elected if he takes the state. host: jim heath, the question for two the party chairs. what can you tell us about the
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disappointment, if any, of senator portman not being on that ticket? it certainly would have made your life easier and would have created a more enthusiastic base in the state, right? could we have banked ohio if portman was on there? >> look. so many of us, myself included, know senator portman know personally he and jane well. he's an outstanding person, jim. but, look, paul ryan brought something else to this campaign. as you know and perhaps some of the viewers may not know he went to miami university which is just up the road here from cincinnati. so we feel like he has a cincinnati connection. he has shared with us here he used to go to cincinnati red ballgames. so there's a connection here with paul ryan. of course those of us who know and love portman would have loved to see him be on the ticket. i tell you that conversation occurred for about a couple of hours on that saturday morning and then those of us who are down here on the ground were energized. paul ryan has brought a new energy. he really, jim, has had an
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impact with our tea party groups. they're excited about a young conservative voice who has a plan for the future of the country. is talking about the economy. of course on a personal level for us there is some disappointment. we are also energized by paul ryan that maybe in a way might not have happened otherwise. i don't know. >> there was a lot of people i spoke to, particularly moderate republican and democrats who suggested to me that if the president had put hillary clinton on the ticket and put joe biden in the spot, a future secretary of state, that would have re-energized the base for the crucial women vote. would that have helped? is joe biden the net plus or loss in this election cycle? >> i think joe biden is a net plus. i love hillary. she'd been a great candidate at some point. but we have joe biden as our vice-presidential candidate. we're through with that. he's terrific out on the stump. he really speaks to the middle
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class and connects exceptionally well with organized labor. connects exceptionally well with the democratic base. we came out of the democratic national convention completely fired up. our folks are out there and ready to go. the interesting thing about rob portman, and i don't know he would have delivered ohio to romney. i don't think that's the case. but the fact of the matter is when romney went in a different direction, rather than picking somebody who has a reputation as being a moderate and being able to work both sides, he went far to the right again. and that does nothing but help us, i believe. host: tim burke is the chair of the hamilton county krattic party. alex is the chair of the republican party. also in hamilton county. and jim heath, who is political columnist and correspondent for the cbs affiliate joining us from columbus, ohio. gentlemen, thanks for sharing your insights into ohio, a battleground state, on this
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c-span google hangout. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you, >> thank you. >> in the u.s. house, legislative work for the week gets under way in about 15 minutes. 2:00 p.m. eastern. over two dozen bills on the agenda today. including one honoring the diplomats killed in benghazi, libya. also today, re-authorization of fema. and that's all coming up beginning at 2:00 p.m. votes after 6:30. live coverage here on c-span. up until then, more reaction from the fundraising comments of mitt romney back in may. host: and a very good morning on this september 19. let me show you how that romney reaction is playing around the papers. here is the front page of the "arizona republic."
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host: we'll be going through all of these papers this morning. want to show you another. "hartford courant" --
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host: and we want to hear from you this morning. for republicans, to get your sense of what this story means, how much it's going to play in this election and as you, republicans, are calling in this morning, we want to go to james homan of "the politico" this morning to talk about the reaction yesterday. james, thanks for joining us. caller: good to be with you, john. host: take us to the headline. how the romney team tried to
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play the story as it snowballed yesterday for the campaign. caller: the campaign is trying to go on offense, john. this morning they're pushing the idea that obama supports the redistribution of wealth. they are trying to, as you alluded to a moment ago, reframe this as two different economic visions for the country. and romney supporting the one that a majority of americans support. so essentially they're not apologizing, they're doubling down. yesterday the dredge report, a popular website, posted a link to a 14-year-old video of obama in which he uses the turn redistribution and talking about making programs more efficient. today, the republican national committee's organizing a series of events in nine battleground states. both paul ryan and mitt romney are going to talk about it at their events. essentially, they know they
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can't change the subject easily so they're trying to embrace it. it's very similar rhetorically to what john mccain tried in 2008 when he attacked barack obama for joe the plumber and the president's comments that he had to spread the wealth around with that community. but ultimately republicans themselves, a republican eliteser are frustrated about this. they see it emblem attic of larger problems on the romney campaign. peggy noonan who was part of the reagan white house wrote a scathing blog post on her "wall street journal" blog overnight calling romney's campaign incompetent and saying that it's time for an intervention, that there needs to be a real shakeup and change. it's just not that many days left and republicans feel like mitt romney has lost pretty much every day to barack obama. host: "politico," want to show the folks at home mitt romney's comments on fox news. he was with neil cavuto of fox
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news to talk about his reaction to that story. here he is >> i recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, gosh, this provision of that mitt keeps talking about lowering income taxes, that's not going to be real attractive to them. and those dependent on government and those who think that government needs to redistribute, i am not going to get them. host: you talked about this a little bit before. but is the party with him on how he's trying to frame this debate now? caller: it's the best they can do what they're saying, it's not exactly what he was saying in the video. that's not what he was saying. that's his effort to frame it and portray it in a way that can resonate with the american people and prevent this becoming even more damaging than it's going to be. host: and how are democrats playing this issue, how is the white house and president obama? guest: president obama was on david letterman's show last
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night. he said, everyone makes mistakes but the bigger issue is priority. obama talks about how when he was elected he promised to be president for all americans, not just 47% here and john mccain got 47% of the vote. notably joe biden was campaigning across iowa yesterday and he didn't talk about the comment at all. he avoided it, didn't answer questions about it. and then on air force 2 on the flight back to washington last night he told reporters that he was holding his fire and letting the comments speak for itself. he said in due time we will have presenty to say about this. but the white house is pretty much fine taking a step back because the video itself is pretty damning. host: and here's a clip of president obama from david letterman's show last night. >> i don't know what he was referring to, but i can tell you this -- what when i won in 2008 47% of the american people
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voted for john mccain. they didn't vote for me. and what i said on election night was, even though you didn't vote for me, i hear your voices and i'm going to work as hard as i can to be your president. and one of the things i learned as president is you represent the entire country and when i meet republicans as i'm traveling around the country, they're hardworking family people who care deeply about this country and my expectation is if you want to be president you got to work for everybody, not just for some. host: and james hohmann of "politico," does this continue to snowball, do you think, this blip on the radar? guest: i think the romney folks will -- it will drip out of
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people's consciouses. perhaps you'll see an attack ad from obama using the comments and we'll move on. ultimately there's not much to suggest that this is really going to move the needle. it's just data point in the larger narrative of romney running an ineffective campaign. the key reason, john, most people don't consider them freeloaders. even those that don't pay income tax, they don't consider themselves moochers. they think he's talking about someone else. and many of those people wouldn't vote for mitt romney anyway. so ultimately this is kind of the story of today, maybe tomorrow, but it's already starting to kind of drip away from being central. host: james hohmann of "politico," thanks for joining us. guest: thanks. host: some comments on twitter this morning. max writes in. state of the romney -- max843
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writes in -- host: and we'll continue to read twitter comments and hear from republicans calling in. just republicans this morning. we want to hear from you on this issue. we'll start with frank on -- from boston, massachusetts, this morning. good morning, frank. caller: well, good morning. listen here, i don't think it's going to hurt him too much. i think it might put him in a situation where he's going to have to come out and with guns blazing. it's not the point where it's going to keep him from getting his electoral votes in. hopefully he can get it together and get himself a good campaign thing going on and hopefully he'll win this thing. host: frank, thanks for calling in this mother.
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photodude writes on twitter -- host: and here's the headline from "the baltimore sun" this morning -- host: and we'll continue to hear from you this morning on
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this from republicans. michael is from jacksonville, florida. thanks for calling in this morning, michael. caller: good morning. i'm calling about the mitt romney comments. i think it's appalling that the media is blown this out of proportion. what mitt romney said is a fact. 45%, 47% of our country is on entitlements. doesn't bother me at all what he had to say. i agree with him 100%. america needs to wake up and the people who don't comprehend it is -- don't understand what he's talking about on that. host: michael, thanks for calling in this morning. michael talking about the media blowing this up too much. here is the opinion piece from "the washington times" this morning, the midst of republican incompetence is the headline.
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host: that provides ample opportunity for mr. romney to score points by holding mr. obama accountable for his broken promises and the broken economy. that again on the opinion page of "the washington times," the lead editorial there. we'll go to california this morning. wes is waiting as we said, on the republican line, we're hearing just from republicans this morning. go ahead, wes. caller: thanks for giving me
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the opportunity to speak. i just recently changed to the republican party. i am a life-long democrat and union member. and i'm really disappointed in my union and my party, my ex-party, because the fair share and social justice is no share. when you have a man speak the truth it's not a gap, if that's what he really feels, if that's what he believes, that's not a gap and he spoke facts. and i just don't get it. when you just had the tape of president obama saying that about redistribution and nobody is jumping on that. the media is in a tank. you have jon stewart. >> all of today's "washington journal" online anytime at c-span.org. the program is live daily at 7:00 a.m. eastern. the u.s. house gaveling in momentarily to begin their workweek with over two dozen bills, including one honoring the four u.s. diplomats killed in the recent attack on the
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u.s. consulate in libya. also, the re-authorization of fema. senate's coming back in for more work on the veterans' jobs bill. 2:15 eastern. later today on capitol hill, they will also hold a congressional gold medal ceremony for mynamar awning -- a -- aung san suu kyi. now live comple of the house here on -- now live coverage of the house here on c-span. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by
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our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. loving god we give you thanks for giving us another day. we pray this day, o lord, for peace in our world. that freedom will flourish and righteousness will be done. the intention of our nation is drawn toward an impending election, but there is work yet to be done. send your spirit upon the members of this people's house that they might judiciously balance seemingly irreconcileable interests. help them to execute their consciences and judgments with clarity and purity of heart so that all might stand before you honestly and trust that you can bring forthrightous fruits from their labors. bless this day and every day and may all that is done be for your greater honor and glory,
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amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance today will bed led by the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich. mr. kucinich: i ask everyone to rise in the pledge and those in the gallery to join us. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to 15 requests for one-minute speeches on each side. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina rise? for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> to speak for one point. the speaker: does the gentleman ask for unanimous consent? >> yes. the speaker: so ordered. mr. jones: mr. speaker, thank
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you. today i had the privilege and honor to visit walter reed hospital to say thank you to our wounded from afghanistan and iraq and i saw those who have lost both legs, arms and legs and it's so sad to go there, but that brings me to the floor today to thank the chairman of the armed services appropriations committee, c.w. "bill" young who has come out and said it's time to bring our troops home from afghanistan. and i quote, i think we should remove ourselves from afghanistan as quickly as we can. mr. speaker, that brings me to a couple comments. i called the former commandant of the marine corps and asked him three years ago to advise me on afghanistan. he has. he's been very -- i want to read his comments and then i will close. i am most convinced than ever that we need to get our troops out of afghanistan. when our friends turn out to be our enemy, it's time to pull the plug. we are now nothing more than a recruiting post for every
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malcontent in the middle east. we need to wake up. i would say to the speaker who just left, i would say to the leadership of the republican party, join us in bringing our troops home in the year 2013. no more should die for a lost cause like afghanistan. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? mr. kucinich: i request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: does gentleman seek unanimous consent? mr. kucinich: i do. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kucinich: thank you. in 1992 the food and drug administration decided that genetically modified organisms were the functional equivalent of conventional foods. they arrived at this decision without testing g.m.o.'s for toxicity, antibiotic resistance, and functional characteristics. as a result hundreds of millions of acres of g.m.o. crops were planted in america without the knowledge or consent of the american people. no safety testing. no long-term health studies. the f.d.a.'s received over a million comments from citizens demanding labeling of g.m.o.'s,
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90% of americans agree. so why no labeling? i'll give you one reason. the influence and corruption of the political process by monsanto. monsanto has been a prime mover in g.m.o. technology. a multimillion dollar g.m.o. lobby here and major political contributor. there was a chance that monsanto's grip will be broken in california where g.m.o. labeling initiative is on the ballot. here in congress, my legislation, h.r. 3553, will provide for a national labeling bill. americans have a right to know if their food is genetically engineered. it's time for labeling. it's time for people to know how their food is being produced. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. poe: mr. speaker, the united states granted pakistan major nonnato ally status to help us fight al qaeda and the taliban. this status gives special
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foreign aid and defense benefits such as expedited arms sales process. pakistan has proved its no friend to america. pakistan said no when we asked it to go after the terrorist havens. pakistan twice tipped off terrorists making i.e.d.'s that kill americans. pakistan's intelligence arm, the isi, helped the network, a designated foreign terrorist organization, to attack our embassy. pakistan arrested and convicted the doctor who helped us locate osama bin laden, the world's number one terrorist. i believe some of the money that we have given them goes to the taliban, but pakistan has given us no reason to trust them. they are a disloyal ally. a benedict arnold friend. i have introduced h.r. 6391 to strip pakistan of its major nonnato ally status. we don't need to pay pakistan to betray us.
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they will do it for free. that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from north carolina seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. the president has burdened the nation with four straight years of trillion dollar deficits and has added more than $5 trillion to our national debt. his failed policies have done nothing but make our economy worse. now he wants to turn our debt crisis into a defense crisis. the president's own secretary of defence has said the looming half trillion dollars in defense cuts would, quote, hollow out the force and inflict see career damage to our national defense, end quote. so far the president has refused to offer any alternatives whatsoever. house republicans remain committed to slashing spending and reducing the deficit, but not by arbitrarily cutting funding that supports our troops and their families. that's why we pass specific commonsense reforms to replace
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these dangerous cuts. it's time for the president to help us rescue our nation's defenders from these imminent cuts before they take effect and our national security is further compromised. i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered, or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed questions will be taken later. frotches the gentleman from -- for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6060. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 484, h.r. 6060. a bill to amend public law 10 -392, to may tain annual base funding for the upper colorado and san juan fish recovery programs through fiscal year 2019. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the
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gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, and the gentleman from arizona, mr. grijalva, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: this is a good bill. it's got a great sponsor. you should vote for it. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from arizona. mr. grijalva: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. grijalva: thank you. h.r. 660 authorizes the use of power revenues to fund two recovery programs in the upper colorado and san juan rivers. since 2011 reclamation has continued to fund these programs at the cost of $2 million annually using existing authority. we support the intent of h.r. 6060 to recover listed species while allowing water and power
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operations to continue. we share the administration's commitment to this program. we also welcome the majority's recognition that compliance with the endangered species act does not mean that water and power projects in the west go dry or go dark. this program provides compliance for 2,320 water projects. thee projects deliver more than 3.7 million acre-feet of water per year to wyoming, utah, colorado, arizona, and new mexico. we are concerned, however, that the republican rules only allow for the re-authorization of this program to 2019. the original goal of 23. whill we agree this legislation should move, it should be clear that at least on our side of the aisle our commitment to this program through 2023 has not changed. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to my colleague who shares a border with me in our districts, the
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gentleman from colorado, mr. tipton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for two minutes. mr. tipton: i thank chairman bishop for yielding. chairman bishop, i'd also like to thank you for your leadership in leading the efforts on this important piece of legislation. the upper colorado and san juan river basin provide key water and power resources in the third congressional district of colorado. and other districts in colorado, wyoming, utah, arizona, and new mexico. these rivers are also home to native fish species at risk of jeopardy findings under the endangered species act. such a finding would impose on western constituents dramatic losses and water availability and hydropower production and increased power rates at a time when we can least support it. extending authorization for unter colorado and san juan fish recovery implementation program will continue necessary efforts to recover foreign
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endangered fish species and provide act for federal, tribal, and nonfederal water projects. these programs are supported by a broad swath of stakeholders from local towns and counties from environmental groups and private industry. and excellent examples of local solutions in lieu of onerous federal management and over regulation. i'm last pleased to see the cost reforms in this extended authorization. h.r. 6060 limits overhead to 3% and prohibits federal employees from traveling to washington, d.c., to lobby for their programs. activities well beyond the bounds of their purview. these cost savings and their measures will allow for greater allocation of resources to species recovery. i'm optimistic these programs can reach their goals in the coming years, recover the species in jeopardy, and safeguard the economic well-being of our communities, jobs, and everything connected with these efforts. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arizona. mr. grijalva: i yield back the
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remainder of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: i thought i should be more expansive in my remarks. this is a really good bill. really good sponsor. and you -- this is one of those things where the nice part is for this mitigation plan to allow these projects to go forward taxpayers are paying no money. it's paid by the utility ratepayers of this particular area. if this is not re-authorized it may put that part in jeopardy and we did put guidelines in there to protect so the overhead that can be charged utility ratepayers have potential limit on it. with that i urge its adoption. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6 o 6060. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. . for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> i move to suspend the rules
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and pass h.r. 1461 as amippeded. spero: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: to allow the pascua yaqui tribe to determine the requirements for membership in that tribe. spero: the gentleman will control 20 minutes. mr. bishop: i'm pleased to yield such time as he macon sume -- mr. bishop: i'm pleased to yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman. >> this bill is simple, it allows them to transfer their water rights up to 99 years. the court december sided they'd have these rights in 1993, this
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is noncontroversial, it does the right thing. it's important, it allows the tribe self-determination and gives them economic opportunities of the leasing of the water rights will provide them with revenues that they desperately need. this would allow the tribe to lease water to communities that are desperately needing water at this point. it's important to the tribes and to new mexico and i would recommend that all vote for h.r. 1451 and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arizona. mr. grijalva: i yield smeist touch time as i may consume.
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i rise in support of h.r. 1461, legislation that would authorize the mescalero apache tribe to lease its lands, there's a tremendous need for water in south central new mexico among the tribe's nonindian maybes -- neighbors. the tribe has approximately 320 acre-feet of water ready to lease to surrounding communities. revenue generated by this leasing would be used to fund basic tribal government services such as a senior care center, infrastructure development and academic scholarshipped. because it was quantified by adjudication, legislation is necessary to allow them to lease this water. this would only make the tribe's valuable resource available to those in immediate and give the tribe a much-needed source of government revenue.
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during the subcommittee hearing on the bill, the administration expressed concern that h.r. 1461 did not limit tribal authority for leasing water to off-reservation locations and that such a clarification was needed to prevent possible application of state law to on-redser vation water leases. committee staff worked together to amend h r. 1461 to clarify that the tribe's authorities are limited to off-reservation water leases. the tribe can now be assured that the state law will never apply to on-reservation water leases pursuant to h.r. 1461. we support h.r. 1461 and reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: could i inquire if there are other speakers -- mr. grijalva: no, i don't. mr. bishop: then i'm ready to make one final statement.
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mr. grijalva: i yield back. mr. bishop: this is one of those bills that the minority and majority worked to clarify that this applies to off reservation water. their leasing authority stays intact. it's a technical amendment that is aproved by all interested members. i urge adoption and yield back the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1461 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3's being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: i move to suspend the rules and pass h r. 3319 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 487, h. reform 3319, a bill to allow the pascua yaqui tribe to determine requirements for membership in that tribe. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop
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and the welt from arizona, mr. grijalva each will control 20 minutes. mr. bishop: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bishop: since i could not get through any discussion of this pronouncing the tribe's name correctly, i yield 10 minutes to the gentleman to discuss what this bill is, he can pronounce it properly. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. grijalva: i rise in support of h.r. 3319 a bill to authorize the pascua yaqui tribe to determine its own criteria that arlt officially limited enrollment based on application deadlines and other
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requirements that don't reflect tribal input. this reflects the modern congressional policy of allowing indian tribes to set their own requirements for membership. it requires that a member possess any degree of indian blood as determined by the tribe. the to tribe has the inherent right to determine its own membership without restrictions imposed by the federal government. mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues to support the passage of 3319 and i yield back the remainder of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: thank you, mr. speaker. as -- the house passed a bill similar to this on tribal membership that recognized a tribe in texas last year so there is precedent for this event. i would therefor have no objection to the passing of this resolution today and urge people to support it and with that, i yield back the
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remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3319 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3's being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is pass and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: frup does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. rostrost: i move that the house -- ms. ros-lehtinen: i move that the house suspend the rules and agree to h.res. 786.
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the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: house resolution 786, honoring the four united states public servants who died in libya and condemning the attacks on the united states diplomatic facilities in libya, egypt, and yemen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen, and the gentleman will each control 20 minutes. ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous materials on this measure. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. ros-lehtinen: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: i want to thank leader pelosi, leader cantor and others for spearheading this attack. our thoughts and prayers are with the families of chris
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stevens, sean smith, tyrone woods, and glen doherty, and all those injured in the attacks. on the 11th anniversary of the attacks of september 11, 2001, radical islamists attacked the united states embassy in benghazi and our ambassador and three other state department personnel were murdered. concurrently in cairo, our u.s. embassy there was assaulted by a mob of extremists who breached its walls and desecrated our american flag. since that fateful day, mr. speaker, we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of anti-american protests and actions throughout the region from assaulting the embassy in tunis to the attack on peacemakers, peace keepers in the sinai. the premise that the violence and protests are solely based on that obscure hateful video is patently false. rather, it is symptomatic of a
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broader effort by our enemies in the region to foment hatred of the united states. yet theres. haitian -- hesitation on the part of this administration and the schizophrenia in response to this latest crisis is a cause for concern. the u.s. has nothing for which to apologize, including the exercise of freedom of expression. surrendering our principles before an unruly mob will only embolden the likes of al qaeda and reinforce the notion that more attacks against the united states will change core american policies and american principles. the perpetrators of the attacks must be held accountable by our allies in the region and the administration must take the lead. there is no excuse whatsoever for attacking diplomatic missions and murdering diplomats. the administration must place the government on notice that their conduct during this
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crisis will determine the nature of our relations moving forward. the libyan and yes, ma'amny government have both apologized for and strongly condemned the attacks on u.s. diplomatic posts in their host countries. they have been fully cooperating with us. by contrast, the egyptian government took over a day to issue a weak statement discouraging violence against foreign embassies, but it was, alas, too little, too late. this cannot happen again and congress will be closely monitoring the ongoing protests and reassessing our assistance packages and our approaches based on the responses of these governments to assaults on our embassies and our institutions. the lack of a firm response will undermine our u.s. interests in the region. we must clearly articulate and implement a policy that rewards our allies, encourages moderate
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forces within the region, and punishes our enemies. at this critical moment, mr. speaker, the united states must affirm support to our friends and allies and clearly differentiate them from our enemies. the united states must continue to stand up for american values and stand with the voices of moderation. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time is reserved. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i rise in support of this resolution, honoring ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, tyrone woods and glen doherty, four patriotic americans who lost their lives in a horrible attack in benghazi, libya. the men and women of the state department assume great risks in dangerous locations around the world. they promote democracy, build civil society, educate, mediate, negotiate, an defend
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u.s. interests worldwide. they are the face of america abroad and our country is safer, freer, and more prosperous because of what they do. ambassador stevens was one of our best and brightest and most courageous. . he served in israel, egypt, saudi arabia, but libya became the septre piece and defining mission of his careerment he was on the ground in benghazi leading u.s. diplomatic efforts from the earliest days of the revolution. he worked tirelessly on behalf of u.s.-libyan relations and the well-being of u.s. citizens living in libya. i am particularly angry that this sickening attack occurred in a country that the u.s. which is chris stevens believed in did so much to liberate. he will be missed for his knowledge of the middle east, his exemplary commitment to service, warm and welcoming personality, and basic human decentcy. sean was a father and 10-year
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veteran of the u.s. state department. prior to arriving in benghazi, he served in brussels, baghdad, pretoria, montreal, and the hague. glen doherty was a former navy seal from boston. he was killed while serving on the ambassador's security detail and helping to evacuate the wounded. tyrone woods spent two decades as a seal, was the father of three, and had worked protecting diplomats in dangerous posts for the past two years. mr. speaker, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the dedicated public servants whose lives were lost. libya owes the american people a full investigation of this incident in complete cooperation with u.s. authorities. the killers must be found and brought to justice. i stand by ready to assist in any way i can. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time voifed.
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the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i will reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady continues to reserve. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: yes. i thank you, mr. speaker. i yield five minutes to the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for five minutes. mr. kucinich: i certainly join with my colleagues in mourning the passing under tragic circumstances of ambassador stevens, as well as the deaths of sean smith and security officers tyrone woods and glen doherty. as well as all those who were injured. i think all of us can agree that what happened to ambassador stevens and the rest of the diplomatic staff should concern everyone, concern all americans. these attacks were wrong. and it's appropriate that we honor ambassador stevens.
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the resolution as i read it is not complete, though, because this discussion that we are having here on the floor is missing some elements and i'd like to bring them forward right now. we have to ask the question, why was the consulate in benghazi, libya, so lightly defended to begin with? did anyone know that benghazi was still a flash point? i mean we overthrew the government. did anyone know that when the government fell that al qaeda's flag was flying over benghazi? did anyone know about al qaeda's presence in libya that came after the war that would have been a constant factor to be mindful of with respect to
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protecting those who serve. why wasn't more care given? to protect u.s. personnel. and the other thing is, there were warnings in diplomatic circles, specifically with respect to libya, because of the ferment that has been going on in the broader muslim world. these are concerns that should be discussed by the congress. doesn't take away anything from the sacrifice that was given. but we have to ask some questions here. we also have to be aware that u.s. policy in libya is murky at best and huge mistake at worst. we have debates on this floor about libya. and we know that congress was
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not consulted. the current issue of vanity fair is worth the attention of every member of congress because it made it abundantly clear on what is a prime constitutional responsibility of congress, article 1, section 8, the power to declare war was essentially usurped by the administration. this is not a small matter. would we have been in libya if congress had had an up front vote immediately? two days ago we celebrated constitution day. are we celebrating the constitution every day or just one day? there are consequences for not fog the constitution. there are consequences for our citizens here at home and citizens abroad. and this needs to be brought up in the context of this debate. we cannot pretend that united
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states policy, which often lacks congressional involvement , with droughns flying over yemen and somalia and pakistan and afghanistan and innocent killed that there is not going to be a blowback or backlash. it is wrong for any of our people to have their lives on the line where they lose their life. it's awful. and i stand here today in support of this resolution only because i want to be on record as joining my colleagues on this matter of making sure that we pay tribute to those whose lives were put on the line for this country. but let me tell you. we cannot ig more the deeper questions here -- ignore the deeper questions here. why wasn't that consulate well defended? we cannot ignore the question,
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why wasn't congress consulted? on the decision to did to -- go to war against libya? there are consequences for these things. the whole country should mourn ambassador stevens' death and the death of all those who proudly serve this country who were taken in this fit of outrage that swept across libya, but we need to remember a few other things, too, about how we got there and why those people who put their lives on the line to serve, why their lives were put in jeopardy. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from florida. miss ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm so pleased to yield one minute to our esteemed majority leader, mr. cantor, the gentleman from virginia. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for one minute. mr. cantor: i thank the speaker and thank the gentlelady for her leadership in bringing this resolution forward. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of this resolution to condemn the violence against
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our diplomatic missions in libya, egypt, yemen, and elsewhere. we acknowledge and honor the personal sacrifice of the brave americans who gave their lives in service to our nation. u.s. ambassador chris stevens, foreign service information management officer sean smith, and security officers tyrone woods and glen doherty tragically lost their lives far from home in benghazi, libya, where they were promoting american interests and helping the libyan people secure the hard fought gains of their revolution. these heroes died upholding the liberty, democracy, and moderation we value as a nation. in the wake of their jobs and ongoing protests and violence, americans want to know what our strategy is for protecting our diplomats, our interests, and our values in a region that is
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undergoing a profound and unfortunately sometimes violent political transformation. americans are rightly worried about the anti-americanism and islamic extremism that has reared its head. i share the concern that americans have about the situation in the middle east. and i believe the president should explain his strategy for navigating the uncertain waters before us. but i know that one policy we must not pursue is to turn our back on this troubled region. withdrawing from the region would embolden the extremists and justify osama bin laden's strategy leaving the moderates who share our values and who desire democracy to combat the forces of violence alone. we are not alone in this fight. from morocco to indonesia there are brave muslims who oppose
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violence, who desire good relations with the united states, who respect religious freedom, and who risk their lives by preaching tolerance and moderation. we should redouble our efforts to stand with these muslims who seek to protect a great religion from being subverted by extremists. we should not abandon libya because terrorists seek to undermine a government that is making progress towards establishing a democracy and that is joining the fight against terrorism. egypt's democratic revolution is unfinished and much work remains to ensure that its first election is not its last. we should work with egypt's leaders to help build a democracy that respects individual rights, women, and religious freedom, while being clear that we will not tolerate policies that give any ground to terrorists or undermine our
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security or that of our ally, israel. american assistance is not anonymity and congress expects egypt's new leaders to respect the parameters and conditions of our generous aid. america must not abandon its partners just as we should not apologize for our perceived sins. we must demonstrate leadership. we should lead a coalition against the rad cal mullahs in iran who foment instability and extremism throughout the region. america should combat iran's support for terrorism and thwart its aspirations for nuclear weapons. america should be leading an international effort to bring overwhelming pressure on the assad regime in syria to end once and for all its state sponsorship of terrorism and bring about a new government in syria before that society fractures beyond repair.
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mr. speaker, america has long been a force for good and stability in the middle east. when we have retreated in the past from playing this role, we have paid dearly. withdrawing from lebanon in the 1980's ceded our country to syria and hezbollah. failing to respond to al qaeda's attack in the 1990's led osama bin laden to believe he could attack the american homeland. the extremists in the region believe today as bin laden believed then, that we do not have the stomach to defend our friends and our interest. that we will abandon the middle east. we must prove them wrong by responding to this challenge with purpose and strength. we must stand with our friends and hold our enemies to account. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i have no further
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speakers. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: mr. speaker, in closing i would like to reinforce a few points. first our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the american diplomats murdered in libya as we stand with them in this difficult time. secondly, there is no excuse whatsoever for attacking diplomatic missions and murdering diplomats. third, the u.s. has nothing for which to apologize. let us not apologize for the exercise of freedom of expression. the perpetrators of these attacks must be held accountable. finally, the united states congress will be reassessing our assistance packages based on the responses of the various affected governments to assault on our embassies and our institutions. nothing can justify the terrorist attacks carried out against our fellow americans
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and our diplomatic posts and our u.s. interests around the world. the americans killed were committed to helping the libyan people, committed to help them secure a better, more stable, more peaceful future. yet radicals, the radicals who seek to hydrogen -- hijack such freedom, security, and prosperity from the people of the middle east and in north africa, those who deny their own people basic human rights and universal freedom, answer our dedication and our commitment of these courageous americans by burning our mission and killing our diplomats. . let us be clear. no apol gays are needed. to people throughout the mideast, north africa and the world, the united states and our personnel overseas stand with you.
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we stand for freedom, despite the threat from extremist elements and with that, i yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 786. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3's being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the resolution is agreed to and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: i move that the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 3783 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: h.r. 3783, a bill to provide for a comprehensive strategy to counter iran's growing presence in the western hemisphere. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the the gentlelady from new york, ms.
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-- from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen and the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, each will control 20 minutes. ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material into the record on this measure. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. ros-lehtinen: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: i rise today in support of h.r. 3783, the countering iran in the western hemisphere act of 2012, introduced by representative duncan, an esteemed member of the current affairs committee. i would like to thank him for his hard work. in february, the committee on foreign affairs held a hearing titled ahmadinejad: tour of tyrants, and iran's threat in the western hemisphere to examine the threat posed by iran in the western hemisphere.
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one month later, this bipartisan measure was unanimously adopted by our committee on foreign affairs. as we have witnessed in the last few weeks, the violence perpetrated by extremists in the mideast against our embassies and our consulate undermine our foreign policy objectives and we must prevent these vicious attacks from occurring in our region. let us not forget that 18 years ago, iranian so-called diplomats readily partnered with hezbollah, a u.s. designated foreign terrorist organization, to carry out a deadly attack against the jewish community cent for the buenos is are, argentina. iran has only increased its subversive action since then and over the past decade, the regime has increased diplomatic and economic ties between iran and the radical regimes in latin america. iran's ahmadinejad made two trips to latin america this
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year to visit his fellow tyrants, the castro brothers in cue bark ortega in nick rah ga, correa in ecuador, chavez in venezuela and morales in bolivia. the iranian regime recently launched a spanish television network to reach a larger international audience centered in the western hemisphere. more embassies and cultural centers have opened in bolivia, ecuador, nicaragua, chile and uruguay. in addition to its existing diplomatic missions in cuba, argentina, brazil, mexico and venezuela. according to u.s. intelligence analysts, these diplomatic missions are fronts for iran to carry out its nefarious activities in the region.
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according to media reports, hezbollah, which is iran's proxy, has established a training base in nicaragua. it is also concerning that the ortega regime in nicaragua does not require any visas for iranian officials to entering the -- to enter the country which can then become the gateway to enter the united states through our southern border. 10 days ago, there were news reports stating that several alleged hezbollah members were arrested in mexico. iran has worked tirelessly to promote its extremist ideologies and support efforts to undermine the democratic governments throughout the region. h.r. 3783 requires the secretary of state to outline a u.s. government-wide strategy to fight the aggressive actions
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of iran and its proxies such as hezbollah in the western hemisphere toward a comprehensive policy stance that will protect u.s. security interests. this legislation also calls for the administration to develop a plan to secure the u.s. borders with canada and mexico and prevent operatives from entering the united states. it also calls for a plan to isolate iran and its sponsors from their source of financial support and addresses efforts by foreign persons, entities and governments in the region that may be assisting iran in evading sanctions. lastly, it also develops a plan to protect u.s. interests and assets in our western hemisphere, including embassies, consulates, businesses, and cultural organizations. we must ensure that the united states is actively monitoring this threat and takes
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appropriate steps to counterer the iranian regime's agenda in our hemisphere. i strongly support passage of this legislation and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time is reserved. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: i rise in strong support of h.r. 3783, the countering iran in the western hemisphere act of 2012. i'd like to thank the sponsor of this legislation, mr. duncan, and the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, ms. ros-lehtinen, for their leadership on this issue. this bill makes available $1 million of counternarcotics funding for the state department to generate an assessment of the challenge pose tourd country by iran's present and hostile activity in the western hemisphere as well as a strategy to address whatever threat we face from the iranian regime.
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tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability, its continued support for international terrorist and its abuse of basic human rights require the united states to maintain extreme vigilance in monitoring and countering its threats around the world. though our goal has not yet been realized, thanks to the leadership of congress and the obama administration, more pressure has been placed on the iranian regime than ever before. while iran's behavior poses a clear and obvious danger to its own people, its presence closer to our shores also deserves watchful attention. the foreign affairs committee has heard significant system on this issue from both administration and private sources, and in my capacity of first chairman and now ranking member of the western hemisphere subcommittee on the foreign affairs committee, i think there's ample evidence that iran is up to no good in the western hemisphere.
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iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad has openly and defiantly signaled in the u.s. in his six trips to our hemisphere that he's trolling for friends. it seem what is he places on the table of country he is visits is unmet promises, it's important that the u.s. government remain vigilant and dig much deeper into the nature and effectiveness of these iranian regime abs. none of this occurs in the -- in a vacuum. iran was complicit in the bombings in buenos aires and the bombing of a jewish community center in buenos aires i have visited on many occasions. this happened in the first half of the 1990's. it can be said the first terrorist attacks on latin american soil happened with iran in control. yet evidence of iran's increasing willingness to
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conduct an attack on u.s. soil such as a twisted plot to assassinate the ambassador here in washington. we must be alert to circumvent sanctions and efforts to curry favors with our neighbors to loosen those sanctions. we should can't to monitor intelligence links and watch the iranian diplomatic corps given its historic involvement in nefarious act. we should look at the chaotic nexus of drug money and terrorism in this country. finally it's important to express that my support for this legislation is not in any way an indication that the obama administration has not taken this issue seriously. the president has himself stated that his administration will continue to monitor iran's activities in the western hemisphere closely and i have personally engaged enough administration officials to be
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persuaded that they understand thegraph i have to the situation and are giving it the attention it deserves. still, we must be particularly vigilant toward the relationship between iran and venezuela, given the opassity of the ties between the regimes govern governing each country thndea anti-american bombast of their leaders. however, there are some positive notes in our region. i would like to extend my appreciation to brazil, the largest democracy in the hemisphere outside of the united states which has significantly cooled its relationship with iran under president rusef and cast important votes in the u.n. human rights council critical of the iranian regime. today's polarization and blust for the washington on so many issues can have the effect of making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. we cannot let that happen here. the stakes are too high. so with this legislation, we provide both a strong signal to the administration to continue to monitor the situation
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closely as well as the resources to look across u.s. agency efforts and enforcement capabilities to make sure they are in lock step. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i proudly yield four minutes to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. duncan, a member of our house committee on foreign affairs, homeland security, an natural resources committees, but more importantly, the author of this bill today. thank you, mr. duncan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. duncan: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, madam chairwoman for your leadership on this very important issue. i want to pause to thank the gentleman from new york, mr. high fwins, for his leadership on the other side of the aisle. last week, congress took a rare break if our work here and from partisanship, we came together to remember those who died on 9/11. and during the war on terrorism.
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we stood together on the capitol steps and pledged we would never forget the heartbreaking events of that fateful day. one of the ways we can honor the memory of those who lost their lives is to be prepared. so that our country will never experience such a tragedy again. that's why i'm standing before you today, mr. speaker, thanking you and the members of the body for putting partisanship aside and working together to keep our families and communities safe from new and eernl many -- emerging threats to our nation. we are all aware of the iranian nuclear threat in the mideast and globally. but there's another potential threat from iran and its proxies closer to home. that threat is an emerging iranian-backed terror network here in the western hemisphere. what we already know is very alarming. we know about last october's foiled iranian plot to assassinate the saudi arabiaian ambassador to the u.s. here on american soil.
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we know iran has vastly expanded its diplomatic footprint in latin america. we know about the department of defense 2012 annual report on iran that stated that during the past three decades, iran has methodically cultivated a network of terrorists -- just this week a brazilian journal and others reported on a seizure of minerals, believed at first to be uranium, but which turned out to be another mineral useful in building weapons. we know they have operatives being trained at the base to attack israeli and u.s. targets in the event of a raid on iranian nuclear installations
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and we know that just last week, press reports revealed that three suspected hezbollah members were arrested just south of our board for the mexico. none of this should come as a surprise. iran has publicly stated that increasing their presence and ties to latin america is one of their top foreign policy objectives. however, we must have the capabilities to defend ourselves from potential iranian attacks here on the homeland. we must be able to clearly identify this emerging threat and cooperate strategies, strategies which include working with our neighbors in this hemisphere to prevent iran from being a danger tour country here at home. mr. speaker, that's why this bill, 3783, establishes a strong u.s. posture, policy, and relationship with latin american countries. it protects u.s. interests and assets in the western hemisphere such as embassies, consulates, businesses and cultural organizations, including threats to u.s. allies. it addresses the vital national security interests of the
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united states by ensuring that energy supplies from western hemisphere are free from the influence of any foreign government that would attempt to manipulate or disrupt global energy markets this bill requires a secure u.s. board we are the u.s. working in coordination with governments of mexico and canada to prevent iranian operatives from entering the united states. this bill counters efforts by foreign persons, entities and goffs in the region which may assist iran in evading u.s. and international sanctions. mr. speaker and madam chairman, i ask that members vote together on this very important issue, h.r. 3783 and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield four minutes to my friend and colleague from the great state of new york who is the lead democratic sponsor of this bill, mr. higgins for four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is
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recognized for four minutes. mr. higgins: thank you. i want to thank for his leadership and friendship on this issue, jeff duncan, for his hard work on this and it's a very important bill that enjoys bipartisan support. i rise in support of h.r. 3873, the countering iran in the western hemisphere act. this is of particular interest to western new york. it addresses a pressing national security concern for the united states. mr. speaker, hezbollah, otherwise known as the party of god in arabic, is an organization committed to violent jihad. it is based in lebanon but serves as a proxy for iran, syria and venezuela. during hearings in the house committee on homeland security, we heard expert testimony linking hezbollah to criminal activity throughout the western hemisphere. we learned that there are roughly 80 hezbollah operatives in the region of latin america
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and it is involved in south american drug trade and radicalization efforts in mexico. we also learned that hezbollah has an active presence in four cities in canada, in 15 cities in the united states. i question the witnesses the activity in north america. i asked if hezbollah is not targeting the united states, what are they doing here? the response was that these activities were not significant because they were largely limited to fundraising. mr. speaker, i don't see the distinction between terrorist activity and fundraising for terrorist activity. if hezbollah and by a proxy iran are using safe havens in and around the united states, we must have a strategy to address it. as i said, this is of particular concern to western new york because one of the communities in which hezbollah has a presence is toronto, which is 90 miles north of buffalo. the buffalo-niagara region, is 55% of the united states population and 62% of the
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canadian population. our peace bridge is the busiest border crossing between the united states and canada. our niagara power project is the largest energy producer in new york state. and the department of homeland security budgetary constraints dropped our funding. if we don't feel comfortable -- we don't feel comfortable with hezbollah 90 miles away. it requires the state department to conduct a thorough assessment of the threats we face and to develop a strategy in coordination with our allies and partners in the region to address hezbollah's growing presence and activity in the western hemisphere. again, i want to thank my colleague, jeff duncan, for his work on this issue and his leadership on this issue. i also want to thank chairman -- chairwoman ros-lehtinen and ranking member berman for their support. i urge passage of this bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida.
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ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. turner, a member on the house committee on foreign affairs, veterans' affairs and homeland security committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for three minutes. mr. turner: thank you, mr. speaker, and i thank the gentleman from south carolina for introducing this resolution. i rise today in strong support of h.r. 3783, the countering iran in the western hemisphere act. last week's events in the middle east and africa are a stark reminder of how fragile peace can be. iran's leaders have not been afraid to let the world know they will attack the united states and our allies, even going so far as to claim that they will wipe israel off the face of the earth. iran is emerging as a threat much closer to our shores in south america. earlier this year iran's president, mahmoud ahmadinejad, embarked on a trip that
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chairman ros-lehtinen accurately categorized as a tour of tyrants. he met with venezuela's president chavez and attended the presidential inauguration of daniel ortega in nicaragua with a before going on to cuba and ecuador. iran continues to deepen its relations with latin america, through its ties through the international shiia group, hezbollah, a state department designated foreign terrorist organization. according to the congressional research center, hezbollah, along with iran, has been linked to two bombings against jewish targets in argentina, the 1972 bombing of the israeli embassy in buenos aries that killed 30 people and the 1994 bombing of the argentine israeli mutual association in buenos aries that killed 85 people. while increasing tensions
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between the united states, israel and iran, we cannot simply afford to ignore the threats that are looming in south america. the countering iran in the western hemisphere act of 2012 will ensure the threat assessments are conducted, that a cooperative strategy is put in place between the united states and our allies in the region and our borders with canada and mexico are more secure. these efforts will allow our country to better protect our citizens and our interests, both on our own soil and abroad. as we've seen the threat is real and american lives are at stake. we cannot afford to ignore the potential threats to our national security that may stem from this area of the world. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: at this time i yield one minute to the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for one minute. mr. kucinich: i condemn all the
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violence that has been talked about here and also had the opportunity years ago to visit the synagogue in buenos aries that was the subject of that attack and paid my respects. i want to say that i -- as i've heard this debate there are two things that occurred to me. number one, congress has the right to ask for reports. it's their constitutional obligation to find out what the administration is doing. so i support congress' right to get information. but at the same time when the debate takes us in a direction to where suddenly we're at odds with latin america, it is an argument for congress to take a strong stand for diplomacy. and i hope that as we get these reports that we're going to underscore the importance of diplomacy not only with respect to latin america but also with respect to iran.
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the american people do not want another war, and we need diplomacy to take us in a direction that makes war not likely. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i will reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: i have no further speaks so i'll yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: we have no further requests for time and we yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3783 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 526 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the
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clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 526, resolution expressing the sense of the house of representatives with respect toward the establishment of a democratic and prosperous republic of georgia and the establishment of a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict with georgia's internationally recognized borders. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentlelady from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen, and the gentleman from new york, mr. engel, each will control 0 minutes. -- 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislativdays to revise and extend their remarks and to insert extraneous material into the record on this measure. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. ros-lehtinen: i thank the speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, sir. in the last decade, the republic of georgia has worked hard to implement a series of political, economic and social reform aimed at establishing a democratic and prosperous
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society. these changes have often been difficult and even controversial, but the georgian government and its people must be commended for continuing to move forward. however, there's still much to be done. soon in the next few months, there will be parliamentary and presidential elections. much is riding on these elections being perceived to be free and fair and conducted in full compliance with international democratic standards. the u.s. strongly supports georgia's membership in nato, and the alliance has repeatedly stated that the republic of georgia will one day be welcomed as a full member. but free and fair elections, mr. speaker, are fundamental to further progress toward georgia's joining nato. nevertheless, georgia is already contributing greatly to the alliance, particularly to the nato nation in afghanistan where it is the second largest
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non-nato contributor. georgia's deployed forces in afghanistan number over 800 troops, and these do not have restrictions on their engagement in combat which is not the case with so many other allies. georgia has done this even as its own security situation remains precarious given the ongoing presence by russian troops in several regions in georgia. until russia fulfills the conditions in the 2008 cease-fire agreement, the instability and conflict it has deliberately created will unfortunately continue. russia's aggression against georgia poses a threat to the security of the entire region. this resolution, therefore, sends a strong message that russian actions and continued military presence in these areas are unacceptable and must end immediately. i, therefore, urge my
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colleagues to join me in support of this important resolution. and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: i rise in strong support of h.res. 526, and i would like to thank the sponsors of this legislation, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. shuster, my colleague from the foreign affairs committee, ms. schwartz, also from pennsylvania for their leadership on this issue. this resolution expresses the sense of the house of representatives with respect to the establishment of a democratic and prosperous republic of georgia within its internationally recognized borders which includes abkhazia and south ossetia regions of georgia. it's time for russia to remove its occupying forces from these areas and comply fully with the august 12, 2008, cease-fire
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agreement. it is also time for the russian federation, venezuela, nicaragua with a to revoke their recognition of the georgian region as independent states and respect georgia's sovereignty. the territorial integrity of georgia has been reaffirmed by the international community multiple times in united nations security council resolutions. i commend georgia for its commitment to a peaceful reunification of its territories and its engagement in constructive confidence building measures towards the occupied territories aimed at reconnecting the divided communities. georgia has had success in laying the foundation for a liberal democratic state, and i urge the government of georgia to consolidate its impressive accomplishments since the 2003 rose revolution. the reforms needed to strengthen georgia's democracy are well-known.
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respect the human rights and the rule of law, a vibrant civil society, independent media, accountable and transparent policymaking and a balance of power between the executive and legislative branches. these reforms will be the strongest guarantor of georgia's independence and prosperity. ahead of us, the october 1 parliamentary elections, can serve as a benchmark of the deepening of the democratic process in georgia. these will be followed by presidential elections. a step backwards would not only be a blow to the development of georgia's democracy but ultimately to its independence. there have been some disturbing reports concerning efforts to prevent some political leaders from running in the parliamentary election in attempts to deny them access to media. these issues must be addressed in order to ensure that georgia has truly free and fair elections. with this resolution today, we
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affirm that the united states remains committed to the sanctity of georgia's sovereignty and independence and to the inviolability of its federation. -- its federation and its internationally recognized borders. we also remind georgia of the opportunity it has next month to solidify georgia's democracy by ensuring free and fair elections. let me say on a personal note, i'm very proud of the relationship between the united states and georgia and i would look forward to a day when georgia is a member of the european union and also a member of nato. i think that the west must not overlook its commitment in georgia simply because we may wish to have better relations with russia. we can never cast aside a democratic prince -- democratic principles because they happen to be inconvenient at the time. we should stand with the nation of georgia and let the world know, including russia that we
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stand by their democracy and will not allow any slipping backwards, will not allow russian hedge mony in the -- he nemny in the -- hegemony in the area. i support the resolution and reserve the balance of my time. 13r0eu7 the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i'm pleased to yield three minutes to to mr. schuster, chairman of the transportation and infrastructure subcommittee, a member of the armed services committee and more importantly the author of the measure before us. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: thank you -- mr. shuster: thank you, minneapolis and thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of house resolution 526, which expresses the sense of the house of representatives with respect toward the establishment of a democratic and prosperous republic of georgia and the establishment of a peaceful and
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just revolution -- resolution to the conflict with georgia's internationally recognized borders. we need to stand by georgia a great ally of ours. i was proud to sponsor this resolution along with my co-chair and fellow pennsylvanian, allyson schwartz. our strategic partnership is based on shared values and common interests. a democratic and stable republic of georgia is in the political security and economic interests of the united states. georgian troops have played an important role in a variety of challenging missions across the globe, including kosovo, iraq and today in afghanistan. in fact, they just brought home 900 georgian troops and are going to reup with 1,700 troops. that doesn't seem like a lot, 1,700, then we have over 80,000. but when you look at a small country like georgia with five million people, that's the equivalent of us sending 100,000 troops.
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they are -- they have proven to be a reliable ally. their level -- their professionalism and their sacrifices in the mission in which they have been involved so far clearly demonstrates that georgia has much to bring to the table as future member of nato and a reliable ally. internally, georgia has worked to develop its democratic and market-based institutions for over a decade. the august, 2008, war with russia nearly halted the economic development, depleted public resources and drove up unemployment, leaving a severe humanitarian crisis nits wake. a peaceful resolution to the conflict is key for the region which is home to another of our strong ally, azerbaijan. it's also timely to consider this resolution today as georgia is scheduled to hold parliamentary leches on october 1. georgia has put a robust system in place to support a free and
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fair electoral process. this will be an important test to georgia's democracy and represent a chance for all georgians to show the world how far they've come in the last decade. i urge my colleagues to join me in expressing or support for the best and most -- to one of our best and most important althrirkse republic of fwea. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. spero: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: i am glad we have cooperation as we generally do in the foreign affairs committee for working together on these issues but i just want to say that i wish we had more cooperation in working together on some of the other issues of the day. we are leaving town in three days, or two days. without enacting into law middle class tax cuts, the farm bill, the violence against women act, those are the
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priorities that are urgent and we should be working on them right now in a bipartisan way, the way we're working on these issues this eamerican people cannot afford a congress that refuses to act on issues critical to middle class families, small businesses, farmers and women. i want to urge the republican leadership to let us stay in town and complete our work and work together for the betterment of the american people, the way we are doing with these three resolutions. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: we have no further requests for time and yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 526 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3's being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the resolution is agreed to and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask -- i move
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to spules and pass h.r. 4158, to confirm full ownership rights for certain united states astronauts to artifacts from the astronauts' space missions. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4158, a bill to confirm full ownership rights for certain united states astronauts to artifacts from the astronauts' space missions. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, ms. hall, and -- mr. hall and the gentlelady from texas, ms. johnson, each will control 20 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas, mr. hall. mr. hall: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. hall: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. i want to begin by thanking members of the science, space,
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and technology committee, republicans and democrats, for their bipartisan support of this legislation. i especially want to commend my good friends lamar smith and eddie bernice johnson for their help and early support. h.r. 4158 would confirm full ownership rights to our nation's first generation of astronauts who flew during the mercury, gemini and apollo era and who received or were allowed to retain artifacts, mementos and other personal equipment from their missions. h.r. 4158 covers all flights from 1961, through the apollo-so-soy use test project that flew in 1975. from the first days of our manned space flight program through our apollo soyusz program, manager routinely allowed astronauts to keep
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mementos and sometimes the astronauts were given equipment. it kin colluded space sut emblems, expendable space suits, checklists, manuals, and disposable flight hardware salvaged from the jettisonned lunar landers. a majority of these items have been in the personal possession of the astronauts for 40 years or more. nasa has begun to challenge the astronauts' ownership of the mementos. this was brought to my attention late last year. i was surprised to hear that nasa has intervened several times to claim ownership. early this year, nasa administrator bolden met with a small group of astronauts to discuss the agency's artifacts policy. following this meeting, through nasa'ses preoffice, the administrator issued a statement saying, and i quote, that our american hero, fellow
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astronauts and personal fans who acted in good faith and committed to work together to find the right policy. he went on to say, and i quote, i believe there have been fundamental misunderstandings and unclear policies regarding items from the mercury, yes, ma'am nigh, apollo and skylab programs and nasa appreciates the position of the astronauts, museums, learning institutions and others who have these historic artifacts in personal and private collections. this bill seeks to eliminate any further ambiguity about apollo-era artifacts received by astronauts. it says that astronauts who flew through the end of the apollo program will be granted full item ownership of any artifacts received from their missions. if we don't pass this bill, artifacts and the astronauts face huge financial risk arising from donations, gifts, and sales already completed. these men are heroes. they're great heroes.
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sadly we had to say good-bye to one of these heroes just last week. they took extraordinary risks to establish america's leadership in space and helped us become a world leader. i think it's a miscarriage of justice that nasa seek return of these mementos and keepsakes. er reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from texas, ms. johnson. ms. johnson: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. johnson: i rise in support of h.r. 4158 to confirm full ownership rights for certain united states astronauts and artifacts from the astronauts' space mission act. i thank the leadership, mr. hall, and all the co-sponsors. this is a necessary bill which will protect our iconic early asttro naughts from needless harassment. this bill will ensure that any
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u.s. astronaut who participated in the historic mercury, gemini or apollo programs will be able to keep the space artifacts which are still in their possession from those missions. at the time of these missions, it was accepted practice that astronauts could keep expendable equipment like checklists and hygiene kits as mementos of their missions. however, this was an informal policy and those ast are naughts lacked paperwork establishing ownership over these items. this bill will protect those astronauts from any claims made by the federal government regarding any of these artifacts. further, the bill protects our national interests by ensuring that any lunar rocks or other lunar material remain property of the united states. while i do support this bill and its passage today, i would
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be remiss if i didn't express my concern about a possible omission. this bill does not cover any of the shuttle era astronauts. the first american woman in space and the first african-american in space were both exclusively shuttle-era astronauts and there were many other notable astronauts during this era. i think these astronauts are no less national heroes than the apollo era astronauts and also noless deserving of our protection. i understand this is a more difficult issue since nasa has not been able to identify when its own internal policies changed regarding astronauts' artifacts but i do think we need to figure that out and address those astronauts' situations as soon as possible. i do want to thank mr. hall for his leadership and for working with all of us on this deal and i reserve -- on this bill and i
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reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas, mr. hall. mr. hall: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to mr. palazzo, the subcommittee chairman of the space and err naughtics committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. palazzo: i rise in strong support of h.r. 4158. this legislation will resolve a conflict that's emerged within nasa over the last decade regarding the ownership of art facts from the mercury, gemini and apollo programs. left unresolved, as chairman hall pointed out, astronauts, their families and those to whom they transferred, donated or sold artifacts may not have clear title to them. if nasa persists in its efforts to acquire these items received by astronauts 40 years ago or more significant financial consequences could befall them. in the 1960's, agency managers
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allowed astronauts to carry a small number of mementos in the spacecraft. as the spacecraft became larger, the policy allowed them to retain expendable gears such as undergarments, shaving kits around spay space suits. and they were further allowed to retrieve from the lieu that are lander certain pieces of hardware that would have been destroyed. with full knowledge and consent of program managers the astronauts were allowed to have personal mementos and certain pieces of equipment. it's incredible to me that nasa wants to penalize those who ted in good faith by trying to retrieve these items. this is a necessary bill to bring closure to the debate and uncertainty regarding a small class of space artifacts. i yield back my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from texas, ms. johnson. mr. johnson: mr. speaker, i have no further requests for time -- ms. johnson: mr. speaker, i have no further requests for time and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from texas, mr. hall. mr. hall: i have no requests for time and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4158. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. ms. johnson: mr. speaker, i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i move to suspend the rules and pass the manager's amendment to h.r. 5948 as amended, the veterans fiduciary reform and honoring noble service act. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5948, a bill to amend title 38, united states code, to improve the supervision of fiduciaries of veterans under the laws administered by the secretary of veterans affairs, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from maine, mr. michaud, each will
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control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: i appreciate the recognition. h.r. 5948 as amended makes great strides towards protecting some of our nation's most vulnerable veterans. in approving the quality of -- in improving the quality of memorial benefits our veterans deserve. for far too long bad actors in v.a.'s fiduciary program have taken advantage of veterans in every part of this great nation. when pressed on this issue by the committee, v.a. claimed that the program was fine and did not need any statutory changes. this bill will help weed out those bad actors and implement the necessary oversight actions v.a. has failed to take while simplifying the confusing and burdensome requirements for those fiduciaries performing
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their jobs well on behalf of veterans. the v.a. fiduciary program is intended to administer benefits for veterans deemed incompetent to handle their own finances by the department of veterans affairs fiduciary programs. numerous defisheses within the -- deficiencies within the program have been highlighted by the veterans' affairs committee and brought to the v.a.'s attention, yet the v.a. is continually slow to act and to fix these systematic problems. among those problems are fiduciaries that are embezzling veterans' funds, refusing to pay a veteran's utility bill, fiduciaries taking more required by law, convicted felons appointed as fiduciaries and fiduciaries telling veterans to conserve money by not running their air conditioning during the summer months. now, members, despite these
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tragic stories, v.a. maintains that its few dishary program is in fact sound. an argument difficult to justify when earlier this month a couple pleaded guilty to stealing over $2 million from 49 veterans. and i hate to tell you that this is not an isolated case. at the beginning of 2012, a u.s. district judge sentenced two v.a.-appointed fiduciaries to prison for stealing nearly $900,000 from 10 different veterans. in both cases the fiduciaries used the stolen funds to go gambling, among other things. the veterans fiduciary reform makes much needed improvements by allowing the veteran to appeal the appointment of a fiduciary, allowing a veteran to request that a new fiduciary be appointed when cause can be shown and to designate a preferred fiduciary ahead of
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time, such as a family member. the bill would also remove the profit motive from predatory fiduciaries by reducing the commission that's paid to them to a level line with social security's program that's equivalent. fiduciaries would have to undergo background checks, minimizing the checks -- chance of unqualified people in the system. and in writing of a disbursement on an annual basis, a lapse that v.a. has failed to address. section 3 of the legislation designates a place of remembrance at arlington national cemetery to serve as a dignified final resting place for remains of veterans that may not otherwise have a final resting place. the section is in direct response to our learning last year that cremated remains were being taken from dover air
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force base to a landfill. a practice that took place over a four-year period. sections 4, 5 and 6 aimed to address an incident that happened at the bushnell national cemetery where a veteran with no known next of kin was buried in a cardboard box. section 4 requires the secretary of veterans affairs to furnish an appropriate casket or an urn with no known next of kin whether no person claims the body or not. and the veteran lacks the sufficient resources to cover burial and funeral expenses. section 5 improves the communication between the v.a. and funeral directors and the medical examiner's office by requiring the secretary ensure that any entity transporting the body of a deceased person to a national cemetery submits to v.a. whether the deceased veteran was cremated and whether or not steps were taken to ensure the deceased veteran
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has no next of kin. section 6 requires the secretary to submit both to the house and senate committees on veterans' affairs within 180 days of enactment of this legislation detailing v.a.'s compliance with industry standards for caskets and understand including a description of caskets and urines -- and urns. section 7 amend -- as amended would bar convicted tier 3 sex offenders sentenced to a minimum life in prison from burial in national veterans cemeteries and some state veteran cemeteries. currently those convicted of capital crimes are prohibited from such burial and this would prohibit people convicted of an equally heinous crime from tarnishing the honor of veterans cemeteries. section 8 ensures that the explicit wishes of a veteran's
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family with regard to religious expression are honored during inturnment ceremonies at a v.a. cemetery. last year officials at the houston national cemetery were accused of restricting religious speech at a ceremony. while that specific incident was resolved when the courts, this section provides a legislative safeguard for all national cemeteries. section 9 would allow county veteran service officers and some congressional employees access to read only information regarding the status of a veteran's claim. during a roundtable discussion between the committee and county veteran service officers, one of the main obstacles highlighted to answer veterans' questions was the lack of access to claims file information. facilitating this level of assistance in the claims process is one simple step we can take to help veterans and potentially address the growing
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backlog claim. section 10, as amended, would improve protections to the veterans whose sensitive information has been compromised by the v.a. now, veterans may not know right now that their personal information has been compromised for well over a month after it has been occurred. but in this time of predatory identity theft, that's far too long and much damage could have already taken place. section 11 of the bill adds a commonsense prohibition on the payment of bonuses to v.a. employees who violate federal law, including federal or v.a. acquisition regulations. section 12 rolls back the current average of nearly $400 million that v.a. annually pays out in bonuses and other inseptemberives. -- incentives. numerous cases of unjustified awards are often to employees with poor performance records and significant retention incentives going to long-term employees who had publicly stated they were already
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preparing to retire. while others around the country are taking steps to better manage their own budgets, it's time that v.a. does the very same. with all of this, i want to urge my colleagues to join me in supporting h.r. 5948, as amended. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. michaud: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the bill, h.r. 5948, which is a mini omnibus of veterans' measures that run the gamut of issues, such as improving the policies of -- on notifications of data breaches of a veteran's personal information, the reform of the department of veterans affairs fiduciary program to ensure that veterans with no known next of kin receive the dignified burial
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they deserve. i thank all the members for their hard work on all these measures, particularly chairman miller and ranking member filner, chairman runyan of new jersey and mr. mcnerney of california, chair and ranking member of the disability assistance and memorial subcommittee, mr. johnson of ohio, mr. donnelly of indiana, chair and ranking member of the oversight and investigation subcommittee. their bipartisan work on the committee, along with the staff efforts, have helped ensure that the provisions of this bill are meaningful and sound for veterans on all fronts. h.r. 5948 contains language from a bill introduced by mr. donnelly which will significantly improve the v.a.'s notification requirement following a data breach involving a veteran's sensitive personal information. we must work harder to protect veterans' personal
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identityification -- identifiable information, including their social security number. and rapid notification procedure when breaches occur will stem the tide of harm any veteran, their family or survivor has to incur. in that same vain of protecting our veterans, this bill also contains a long overdue overhaul of the v.a. fiduciary program. the additional provisions seek to ensure that the most vulnerable v.a. beneficiaries who cannot manage on their own are provided the utmost protection on their hard-earned benefits. in my district, the number of one concern among the constituents that are brought before my congressional office is with veterans' issues and i'm so pleased that 5948 includes a provision to grant county veteran service officers other state and local employees
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as well as staff of members of congress greater access to veterans' claims information for tracking purposes. i wholeheartedly support the mission of this measure. and the work of our colleague veteran service organizations and their tireless work of my staff, as i know other members of other congress' staff as it relates to veteran issues. finally, this bill will establish a place of remembrance at arlington national cemetery for unidentified cremated remains of our service men and women. this will ensure that not one of our veterans or service members is left behind or forgotten. according to the department of defense, more than 7,800 service members have been wounded in action while serving in the current conflict. today 18,000 service members will take their lives by their own hands. these are sobering statistics.
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in caring for injured men and women in uniform, we must continue to address their needs so they may live in dignity after their honorable military service. i've only begun today with a few important provisions of this bill. i want to thank the chairman for his work to bring the bill before the committee and urge my colleagues to support the bill and i respectfully reserve the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from florida. mr. >> i want to thank mr. michaud for his work on this. mr. miller: one of the most important committees is oversight, that's why i asked mr. johnson to chair that subcommittee and i yield him two minutes on this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for two minutes. mr. johnson: i am proud to
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sponsor the v.a. fiduciary reform act. most importantly, it will protect veterans from falling victim to deceitful fiduciaries. since our february hearing, hardly a week has gone by when we have not been contact about a fiduciary issue. many of these issues involved honest and hardworking fiduciaries caught in the trap that is the v.a.'s fiduciary program. this bill will go a long way toward making that unyielding bureaucracy more responsive to the needs of veterans that it is supposed to serve. we have heard many complaints about the requirement for fiduciaries to obtain a bond while proper in some settings, it is inappropriate when it causes unnecessary hardship such as a mother caring for her veteran son. this bill will require the v.a. to consider whether a bond is necessary and if it will adversely affect the fiduciary
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and the veterans he or she serves. the veteran's fiduciary program and noble service act will direct the v.a.'s undersecretaries for health to coordinate efforts to ensure that fiduciaries care naring loved ones are not overly burdened by redundant requirements. finally it aims to simplify requirements. currently the v.a. does not have to review annual accounting and when it does it places an onerous burden on those fiduciaries serving out of love and not for monetary gain this bill will i.ment a straightforward annual accounting requirement and gives the v.a. an opportunity to audit fiduciaries whose accounting is suspect. before i yield back, i want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their hard work in this effort. with that, i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the
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swrelt from florida. mr. miller: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i want to yield two minutes to the gentleman from the great state of new jersey, mr. runyan, also somebody who has been very involved in helping us put this piece of legislation together. two minutes to mr. runyan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. runyan: thank you, mr. speaker, and thank you, chairman miller. i rise in support of h r. 5948, the veterans' fiduciary reform and honoring noble service act of 2012. in addition to several important provisions that address many needed improvements to the v.a. fiduciary program, as chairman of the subcommittee on disabilities, this is a me -- of memorial affairs i would like to draw attention to several other important provisions of this bill. first, section 9 of the bill provides for improved access to case tracking information for certain government employ --
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employees including veterans accounting service officersle it is my hope that allowing local service officers to assist in a veteran's claims process, the more crames that can be completed in a more timely manner. there are also several other provisions in this bill that further honor the final resting places of our nation's fallen heroes by providing improvements to the v.a.'s national cemetery program and burial process as well as at arlington national cemetery. i believe we have a solemn obligation to cherish the memory and heroic actions of our fallen heroes by holding ourselves and our organizations to the highest standards which this legislation aims to do. therefore i urge all members to support h.r. 5948 and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from maine continues to reserve. the gentleman from florida.
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mr. miller: i yield one minute to the gentleman from ohio, mr. stivers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. stivers: thank you. i'd like to thank the credit for yielding. as a member of congress and a serviceman, i was as shocked as erp else the stories coming out late last year about dover air force base mortuary sending cremated unidentified remains to the prince georges landfill. it's a terrible injustice to our service members and can't be allowed to happen again. while unidentified partial remains are now cremated and buried at sea, we can't leave those behind. this honors the -- this ensures that the remains of those who gave their lives have a final resting place deserving of
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their devotion. i would like to thank the chairman and the swrelt from new jersey, mr. runyan for their help and assistance on the bill. i would ask my colleagues to support h.r. 5948 and help ensure that there's a place of remembrance for those who have given their final measure of devotion, especially if they're -- their remains are unidentified and make sure we send their remains to a place worthy of their dedication and commitment and devotion. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mai. mr. michaud: it's my understanding the gentleman has no further speakers? i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the secret from florida. mr. miller: i ask that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 5948 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. miller: i encourage all members to support this legislation and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house
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suspend the rules and has perform r. 5948 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair 2/3's being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6573 as amended, the v.a. -- the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: h.r. 5375, a bill to amend title 38 united states code, to extend certain authorities of the secretary of veterans affairs and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller and the gentleman from
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maine, mr. michaud, each will control 20 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: -- mr. miller: i yield myself such time as i i might consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. miller: this bill would authorize major medical facility projects and extend certain expiring authorities. it encompasses v.a.'s fiscal year for 2013 for major medical facility projects and tracks with resources we have provided to the department for health care matters in in that the appropriation bills passed by the house with bipartisan support. it would aid in the delivery of health care to services and to service members, veterans and their families in communities across this country. it authorizes two major medical facility projects, the construction of a mental health building at the v.a. medical center in seattle, washington, in an amount not to exceed $222
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million, and the construction of a spinal cord injury center at the v.a. medical center in dallas, texas, not to exceed $155.2 million. section 102 of the bill would authorize the renovation of the surgical suite and operating rooms at the medical cent for the miami in an amount not to exceed $41 million. i would note that this project was originally undertaken by the department in 2007 as two separate, minor construction projects. however in 2008, the two separate projects were combined into a single initiative without the knowledge of v.a.'s central office or the approval in direct violation of established procedures. the v.a. officials first became aware of this issue in february of this year and in april of this year, they determined that the combined project constituted a major construction project that had moved forward without
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congressional authorization as required by law. work on the project is currently suspended at a cost of approximately $6,000 a day. as soon as our committee became aware of the issue, we requested an in depth briefing from v.a. officials to get to the bottom of the issue and to ensure that the leaders of v.a. responsible for this egregious oversight were in fact held accountable. it's really nothing short of unacceptable to this committee and i would hope to this congress that this facility had been openly flouting v.a. policy and more importantly breaking federal law for four years without consequences before somebody at v.a. took notice. how many other v.a. projects have moved forward without regard for proper procedure, legal requirements or congressional authorization and how long has the central office not been paying attention. the committee will continue to be vigorous in our oversight
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but in the meantime, we cannot allow the american taxpayer or the veterans of south florida to suffer because of a bureaucratic failing or lack of leadership. the department of has proposed using approximately $12.1 million in prior year major construction advance planning funds to complete the remainder of the miami project. i've been assured repeatedly by v.a. officials that the use of this money will in no way negatively impact the planning or design of any other project. i've also been assured by the department that once congressional authorization is received, the project can be completed in 120 days. i am hopeful that the department is correct in its assessment of the work that remains and that this provision will allow for the completion of this project to better serve the veterans in the miami area. section 103 of this bill would authorize the appropriation of $377.2 million for v.a. major construction projects.
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title 2 of the bill would extend expiring authorities for several programs within v.a. including programs designed to help veterans keep their homes, gain greater access to compensation and pension examinations, better serve veterans living in the philippines and provide supportive services to those who are homeless. this legislation represents a bipartisan effort and i'd like to express my thanks to the ranking member, mr. filner and mr. michaud for his hard work and leadership in quickly advancing this important legislation to the floor. before i yield i'd like to point out that if the bill before us today does not include major medical facility lease authorizations as it normally would due to concerns raised late last week by the congressional budget office about how to prop ly account for the total cost of v.a.'s lease authorization. mr. speaker, i want to assure our veterans and stake holders that i'm committed to working closely with my colleagues in
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the senate, the administration's office of management and budget and the con gredgesal budget office to find a way forward on those authorizations in the near future. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting h.r. 6375 as amended. i reserve the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i'd like to thank my colleagues for their hard work and effort on this important bill as well. each year as we assess the construction needs of department of veterans' affairs we do so with the safety and help of our veterans in mind as well as fulfilling our statutory requirement to authorize major medical facility projects. this is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. h.r. 6375, the v.a. major construction authorization and expiration authority extension act of 2012, would authorize
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approximately over $377 million for major medical facility projects, specifically including in the authorization for mental health buildings at the v.a. medical cent for the seattle, washington, and a spinal cord injury facility at the v.a. medical cent for the dallas, texas. mr. speaker, these authorizations provide the department of veterans' affairs the ability to provide state of the art health care and service to our nation's veterans, wherever they choose to live. i'd like to take a few moments to comment on section 102 which provites the authority of the renovation of a surgical suite at the operating rooms at the v.a. medical center in miami, florida. earlier this year it was brought to the committee's attention that v.a. was going to need additional authorization to finish the renovation of the operating suite in miami.
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it is my understanding that during the design phase of the original projects an assessment was conducted and the recommendation was to completely close down the surgical suite because of infestation control and safety issues related to construction. because of this, two small miami projects were combined and the cost exceeded the monetary threshold of $10 million that governs the need to seek congressional authority. working in a bipartisan manner with the concern of the safety continuation of surgery in the miami v.a. medical center, always first and foremost in our mind, we included this project so the v.a. can move forward without delay. in addition, the major facilities project provides for the extension of certain expiring authorities. i am pleased to strongly
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support the extension of programs that directly affect some of our most vulnerable veterans, the serious mentally ill and the homeless. we have the contract authority with private providers for compensation and pension exams. i support these provisions, but i also want to ensure that we remain vigilant in our oversight of this authority. as such i am pleased to see one-year extension of these authorities, and i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 6335, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: mr. speaker, we have no more speakers on this particular piece of legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maine. mr. michaud: thank you, mr. speaker. i would encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this particular piece of legislation, which is very important for our veterans, but i also would be remiss if i didn't say that, like my
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colleague from new york earlier, disappointed that we're leaving washington when we have a lot of work to do such as the middle-class tax cuts, the farm bill, the violence against women act and responsible deficit reduction as well as my bill that addresses the issue of our military who are supposed to be clothed from head to toe with american-made clothing. the fact that the administration is not complying with the very amendment is very disappointing and hopefully we'll be able to address these issues before the end of the year so we can take care of a lot of concerns that my constituents have brought forth. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate my colleague helping to point out the fact that the senate itself has not acted on many of the pieces of legislation that in fact this house has passed and sent over to it and it's a shame that for the last three years they have not taken up such good
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legislation. with that i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 6375, as amended, and i thank my colleagues once again and urge their support and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6375, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. hall: mr. speaker, i rise to ask unanimous consent that the ordering of the yeas and nays on the motion that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4158 be vacated to the end that the chair put the question de novo. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection? without objection, the ordering of the yeas and nays with regard to suspending the rules and passing h.r. 4158 is
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vacated. mr. hall: i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 4158. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the
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gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6324. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: h.r. 6324, a bill to reduce the number of nonessential vehicles purchased and leased by the federal government, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, and the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. chaffetz: h.r. 6324, the cutting federal unnecessary and expensive leasing act, or cutting fuel act of 2012, is a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by mr. hanna of new york and mr. barrow of georgia. with a $16 trillion debt, the
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congress and the federal government need to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently and help reduce costs. federal agencies currently own or lease roughly 660,000 cars, advance, sport utility vehicles, trucks, buses and ambulances and i'm sure there's a host of others as well. during 2011, the federal government spent $4.4 billion to maintain and operate these vehicles, including $1.3 trillion in fuel costs alone. during last five years, federal agencies purchased an average of approximately 68,000 new vehicles annually at a cost of roughly $1.5 billion per year. the bowles-simpson national commission recommended reducing the number of nonessential vehicles owned or leased by federal agencies other than the department of defense, the postal -- or the postal service by 20%. according to some estimates, this proposal could save up to $500 million over the next 10 years.
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the cutting fuel act would reduce the government spending on civilian vehicle purchases and leases by 20% and maintain that reduced level of spending for five years. this reduction would not apply to military or postal vehicles, and there is an exception for national security vehicles as well. mr. speaker, i think this is a good, commonsense piece of legislation. we want to encourage members to support this bill. i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves his time. the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for as much time as she wishes. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to 6324, the fuel act. this bill is being rushed to the floor without any hearings or considerations by the government oversight committee. the result is a poorly drafted bill that may have harmful, unintended consequences. this bill would require all
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federal agencies to reduce their purchases and leases of vehicles by 20% below 2010 expenditure levels. this reduction would not apply to military vehicles, and an exception is provided for vehicles necessary for national security purposes. while my colleague's goal is to cut government spending and force agencies to spend their money more efficiently, this bill is not the way to achieve those objectives. this bill does not take into account agencies that have already decreased their fleet size by improving fleet management procedures. according to a recent g.a.o. report, agencies such as the air force have implemented various fleet downsizing policies and have made efforts to eliminate vehicles that are not mission critical.
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instead of examining the needs of each individual agency, this bill simply makes a sweeping 20% cut applicable to all agencies. regardless of whether they have already made significant improvements. the g.a.o. also noted that some agencies, like the department of veterans affairs, have increased their fleet sizes due to expanded programs, essential to assisting our disabled veterans. this bill would prevent agencies, such as the v.a., from effectively serving our veterans when they return home from war. mr. speaker, we come to the house floor only to bring up legislation that was recently introduced in august. there have been no hearings in committee, no amendments, no
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markups, no substantive debate, all of which could have made significant improvements to the bill. the american people are asking their elected officials to be bipartisan and pass legislation to add more jobs to our economy. we should focus on extending the tax cuts for the middle class or passing legislation to resolve the looming crisis in the postal service. but, no, the republican majority and their leadership would rather focus on passing messaging bills before the election. they prefer to leave washington and campaign rather than take up the real issues that confront our country. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation and ask that we get back to doing the work of the people. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentlewoman from new york reserves her time. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i'd like to yield such time as he may consume to the chief sponsor of this legislation, the gentleman from new york, mr. hanna. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. hanna: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 6324, the cutting federal unnecessary and expensive leasing act. i sponsor this legislation with my friend and colleague from georgia, mr. barrow. mr. speaker, this is a simple bill, which takes up a recommendation of the bipartisan simpson-bowles commission to help our federal government operate more efficiently. the federal government now owns and operates over 500,000 civilian vehicles, according to the government accountability office. simpson-bowles found that the government's annual vehicle budget is over $4 billion, and the federal fleet has increased by 30,000 vehicles in recent years.
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these are staggering numbers any time, but particularly when our national debt has surpassed $16 trillion. rapid advances in technologies like video conferencing and telecommunicating are making travel much less necessary, not more. the national commission on fiscal responsibility and reform recommended that the federal government's fleet be cut by 20%. the cutting fuel act does just that. it requires civilian federal agencies over the next five years to spend 20% less than their fiscal year 2010 levels on vehicles purchased and leased. the bill exempts our armed forces, postal service and other vehicles which have a national security purpose as determined by the office of management and budget and general services administration. the bill encourages agencies to
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share vehicles with another agency that may need temporary or long-term use of additional vehicles. for example, if the v.a. required additional vehicles to meet certain program needs, the administration could task other agencies to help and assist the v.a. the benefits of this bill are clear. we will be saving hundreds of millions of dollars over 10 years that are better used for deficit reduction or core agency missions. we will be reducing congestion on our roads and because of this -- because these fleets burn more than one million gallons of fuel each day, we will be saving fuel costs and reducing emissions. the simple reality is we have to cut strength, and the federal government needs to
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live -- spending and the federal government needs to live within its means. buying and leasing cars that it does not need is a waste of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. i would also note that the congress has capped its own spending on vehicle leases for the past two years, an amendment which i authored. this bill today is just another commonsense bipartisan solution to save where it makes obvious sense. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to support this legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york, mr. hanna, yields back his time. the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney, is recognized. mrs. maloney: i recognize john barrow from the great state of georgia for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia, mr. barrow, is recognized for three minutes. mr. barrow: thank you, mr. speaker. and i thank the gentlelady for the time. mr. speaker, i am pleased to reach across the aisle in support of the cutting fuel act, a commonsense bill to cut wasteful government spending by reducing it's number of nonessential vehicles purchased
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by the federal government. any family or business knows that you can't spend beyond your means. government should work the same way. buying brand new cars the federal government doesn't need is a waste of hard-earned taxpayer dollars and this bill puts an end to that. the government spends $4 billion a year to maintain and operate over 650,000 vehicles. since 2006, the federal government has added over 20,000 vehicles to this fleet and the cost of operating these vehicles has gone up 5.4%. i recently introduced h.r. 6144, which also cuts the federal vehicle fleet by 20%. like the cutting fuel act, it makes an exception for vehicles that are essential to national security while reducing the size of the nonessential federal government fleet by 20%. this is just one of the many recommendations of the bipartisan simpson-bowles commission and over the next 10 years it will save literally hundreds of millions of dollars
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of taxpayer myrrhen -- money. i'm pleased to join my colleague, representative hanna, in support of his version of this legislation. because acting in -- acting in a bipartisan fashion isn't just the right way to do things around here, it's the only way to actually get things done around here. however much we forget that in this body, it's the only way to deal with the other body and it's the only way to truly represent the nation as a whole. the folks we represent deserve a government that is responsible with their hard-earned dollars. i thank congressman hanna for introducing the cutting fuel act and i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense, bipartisan bill. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia, mr. barrow, yields back his time. the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers but i'll continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. mrs. maloney: i have no additional speakers but i do want to stress that we should not be adjourning. we should continue to work and try to do things to preserve medicare.
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this congress has voted to end medicare as we know it, to turn it into a voucher system. and we need to extend the middle class tax breaks and jobs, the president's jobs bill. many of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, republican and democrat, have come forward with jobs bills that we could consider passing and working. i must say they're very, very urgent priorities that the american people are calling my office and i'm sure all of my colleagues concerning the farm bill. we need to pass a farm bill. and the violence against women act. this used to be bipartisan legislation. it was introduced as bipartisan legislation. yet in this congress people have voted to repeal some of the protections and we have not been able to have a consensus on what has historically been a consensus issue. and on the war on women, i am issuing a report today that shows that the republican
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majority is not only out of step with the mainstream of america and the democratic majority, but they are out of step with the historic republican party. the historic republican party, in fact, i'll give one example, title 10. george h.w. bush was the author of title 10 when it passed and it was signed by a republican president. now that this congress voted to end that. family planning, birth control. this is unprecedented. there are many things we need to address. i would say specifically the farm bill and the re-authorization of the violence against women act. this should be an area where we could all agree and come together on. so i urge my colleagues not only to vote against this particular bill, but also to speak to their leadership on the other side of the aisle,
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that these press issues should be taken up and addressed. i have no additional speakers and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney, yields back her time. the gentleman from utah. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chaffetz: mr. speaker, i would hope we would be very bipartisan, at least here in the house of representatives, in criticizing the united states senate for not actinging on what has passed in this -- acting on what has passed in this house of representatives. it is crystal clear from the record that had it has been more than 1,200 days since the united states senate has addressed and passed a budget. we have passed more than 30 bills that are directly related to jobs and the economy, out of the house of representatives, sit directly in the united states senate to continue to not be addressed. and i would hope that my colleague would join me in this bipartisan course to say, this is ridiculous. we can't do the work of the people if the united states senate doesn't actually do their job. so, i think i would agree in concept that, yes, there is work to do. unfortunately i don't see much of that happening over in the
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united states senate. this bill, h.r. 6324, happens to be a good bipartisan piece of legislation that reduces spending, something called for in simpson-bowles. it is a responsible thing to do. it sets the goal, the framework the agencies would need to comply with. it would save hundreds of millions of dollars and yet we hear that, well, that's not a time to do this because, well, we need to think about it more. we're paying more than $600 million a day in interest on our national debt. if you spend $1 million a day every day it would take you almost 3,000 years to get to $1 trillion. and since this president took office, we're at $10 trillion in debt, we're now at $16 trillion in debt. and all they're concerned about is, well, you know, we got to talk -- we don't have time. we have to act now. we have to pass bills like this. it's irresponsible not to. we need to continue to call upon the senate to actually do their job and engage in the people's work. the country will be better off.
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so i encourage my colleagues to join in support of representative hanna's bill, it's a good, commonsense, bipartisan piece of legislation, with broad support. it's h.r. 6324 and i encourage my colleagues to vote aye. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, yields back his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 63 -- or 6324. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, twiffereds 2/3 -- 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 6410. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 6410, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to provide for taxpayers making donations with their returns of income tax to the federal government to pay down the public debt. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp, and the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp. mr. camp: mr. speaker, i ask
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unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the subject of the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. camp: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for as much time as he wishes to consume. mr. camp: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 6410, a bill to provide a simple way for individuals to voluntarily donate funds to pay down the national debt. under current law you can contribute to debt reduction but like all things with the i.r.s., it isn't easy. if you dig deep into the 189 pages of instructions that accompany the 1040, you'll find on page 88 the following, and i quote, do not give a gift to reduce held to any tax you may owe, end quote. to contribute to deficit reduction one must send a separate check or money order to the bureau of public debt or then go online and use a credit card.
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so warren buffett, who says he wants to may more in taxes to pay down our debt, can't actually do so when filing his taxes. h.r. 6410, however, gives mr. buffett and generous americans like him a simple, easy way to help pay down our debt. this legislation adds to appropriate tax forms a box with the caption, and i'm quoting, by checking here i signify that in addition to my tax liability, if any, i would like to donate the included payment to the -- to be used exclusively for the purpose of paying down the national debt, end quote. the joint committee on taxation estimates that h.r. 6410 reduces the public debt by $135 million over 10 years. it makes it easy for those who want to donate money to the treasury for debt reduction to voluntarily do so. without raising taxes on entrepreneurs and job creators. so if warren buffett wants to give, then h.r. 6410 allows him to give to his hert a -- heart's content and the payments will go directly to an account at the treasury
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dedicated exclusively to debt reduction. mr. speaker, it's not enough to speak in political platitudes about what we can do to reduce our debt. now you can put your money where your mouth is. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in passing this legislation and, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp, reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin. mr. levin: thank you. i yield myself such time as i shall consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for as much time as he wishes to consume. mr. levin: well, there's nothing wrong with this bill except the label. if there were fine, i'd say, for legislative mislabeling, house republicans would have a very large fine to pay. this bill has nothing, zero, to do with the buffett rule. it has everything to do with the absolute refusal of republicans to face the basic issue. the present tax laws give an in
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ordernant tax rate to the very wealthy. the buffett rule is provided and proposed by president obama and congressional democrats, in addition to reducing the deficit by $46 billion, would address a significant inequity in the code that allows a quarter of taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year to pay a lower tax rate than millions of middle class families. one of those taxpayers is the republican presidential nominee, governor mitt romney, who paid an effective tax rate lower than 15% in 2010 and refuses to let the american public see his tax returns for any earlier years. indeed the so-called tax reform legislation from republicans would do just the opposite.
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provide massive tax cuts for the very wealthy, doubling down on the bush tax cuts that have added billions to the deficit, and contribute it to growing income inequality. what's more, their idea of tax reform is to heap new taxes on the backs of middle and lower income families to pay for all of this. a recent report found that the so-called tax reform outlined in the ryan budget would give those making over $1 million a year an additional average tax cut of $331,000. while those making less than $200,000 would see a tax increase of $4,500. taxpayers can now do exactly what is provided in this bill, if they want to donate some of their taxes on the income they have to deficit reduction.
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so republicans will recess in two days for two months, with an incredible amount of unfinished business, not the least of which is the extension of the middle class tax cuts and the looming fiscal cliff. we need hard work, not -- hard work. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp. mr. camp: i yield to the distinguished gentleman from louisiana such time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise, is recognized for as much time as he wishes to consume. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. chairman. and i thank the gentleman from michigan for yielding and for bringing this legislation to the floor. the buffett rule act that we're debating now will set up a process where citizens all across the country, rich, poor, whatever their income level, if they feel that they haven't paid enough money into the federal treasury, then they can
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just check off a box and submit the amount of money that they want to pay in addition to what their normal tax liability is and the assurance will be that that money will be used specifically to pay down the national debt. which of course just a few weaks ago broke the $16 -- weeks ago broke the $16 trillion mark under president obama. i think if you look at the contrast to the buffett rule act that we bring forward, in con -- and contrast that with president obama's proposed buffett rule that he's talked about, what the president's talked about is actually raising taxes on the very small business owners that we need our country to help create jobs. to help get our economy back going again. in fact, even president obama himself has acknowledged that if you raise taxes on anybody in a bad economy, that it will make the economy even worse. and make no mistake about it, we are living right now in a bad economy. and in many cases, because of the president's policies, because of the so -- because of
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the tax increases that this president has already imposed. president obama has imposed more than 20 new taxes on middle class families, many of them haven't kicked in and they don't kick in until after the election, conveniently, but those taxes are on the books and it's going to make it even harder for american families who are struggling to -- struggling to get by in a tough economy. what's the president's latest answer in his version of the buffett rule? it's to raise another $30 billion-plus on the backs of our small business owners. by his own admission, that would make the economy even worse, and i think most people recognize the president would just use that money to go and spend even more money on a government that's already too big. so the question is where we raise taxes on small business owners further hurting the economy just so he can have more money spent in washington where there is too much weafl spending or something which is established in this bill, the
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buffett rule act, where someone who feels like they are not paying enough in taxes, they can check a box and lay down however much they spend and that will be used to drawdown the national debt. the tax and spend approach under president obama has not worked. we have more than 8% unemployment literally since the president took office. and it's only gotten worse to the point where millions of americans have given up looking for work. and the president's answer is just to keep raising more taxes and spending more money and borrowing it from china because we don't have it. we need a better approach. we need to address the mushrooming deficit that broke the $16 trillion mark. and if people like warren buffett and others don't feel like they're spending enough money to washington, thought them give this check box but if they send more money, it will
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not be used to spend money we don't have. it's going to be used to finally start paying down this national debt that's out of control and that's a burden to the opportunities of today's workers and the unemployed who are looking for jobs but also to future generations, to our children and grandchildren who the big spenders in washington are borrowing that money from and sending the bill to our children. they got to stop doing it. we got to stop the way things are going now. get the economy back on track. and you don't do it by raising taxes. again, president obama even acknowledged that even though his proposal is to raise taxes on our small business owners. you do it this way. if you feel like sending more money to washington, use it to pay down the national debt so we can control spending here. if i could, mr. speaker, there's a receipter in support of this by americans of tax reform who support this bill. i'd like to ask unanimous consent to submit this into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. scalise: i yield back the balance of my time. thank you, mr. chairman, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana, mr.
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scalise, yields back his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp, reserve. the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, is recognized. mr. levin: it's now my pleasure to yield three minutes to our ranking member on budget, the gentleman from maryland, mr. van hollen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for three minutes. mr. van hollen: i thank you, mr. speaker. and i thank my colleague, mr. levin. look, i was just listening to the previous speaker. the issue is not whether we reduce our long-term deficits. we got to do that. the question is how, and every bipartisan group that has looked at this issue has said, in order to do this in a smart and credible way we have to make some additional tough cuts in reform but we need to raise additional revenue. and if we don't raise any more revenue, it means that everybody else is going to get hit even harder. seniors on medicare will have to pay more through the voucher plan than our republican colleagues have proposed. kids' education voucher --
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education grants and loans will be cut. our investment in infrastructure will be cut. so what we've said is let's take that balanced approach to reducing the deficit and folks that have done very well need to contribute more to helping our country in that very well. and our republican colleagues have said, no, no, no. we're not going to ask people like warren buffett or mitt romney or very wealthy people to pay one more penny, not one toward reducing our deficit. and mr. speaker, i got to say it's astounding that our republican colleagues would bring this bill to the floor of this house any day, but especially today. there's apparently no embarrassment factor about the fact that just yesterday this tape surfaced with mitt romney talking about the fact that 47 million americans are not paying enough federal taxes,
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that they're somehow not taking personal responsibility. you might as well name this piece of legislation, give mitt romney another big tax break, because as the gentleman from michigan pointed out, the real buffett rule would say to people like warren buffett and to people like mitt romney and to people that have done very well, we need you to contribute a little bit more toward deficit reduction just like you were doing when president clinton was president. just go back to paying the same rate as when president clinton was president. and by the way, president obama has called upon this congress to immediately extend tax relief to 98% of the american people, and 97% of all businesses that do business pass through. to bane capital and some of the fortune 100 companies, you don't have to pay any more to reduce our deficit and they use the language of small business
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as a cover for that. now, let's look at who was among those 47% of americans that governor romney was talking about yesterday. seniors who paid into medicare, who paid into social security, who don't have any federal income tax liability, they're being undertaxed apparently or not taking personal responsibility. how about our soldiers? you know, we decided that soldiers should not be taxed on their combat pay. if i could have two more minutes. mr. levin: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from maryland. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two additional minutes. mr. van hollen: i thank the gentleman. soldiers fighting in afghanistan, we decided they should not pay taxes on their combat pay. apparently mitt romney wants them to have to pay taxes on that money because they're not taking personal responsibility. millions of americans are working hard every day to make ends meet. they may be making $25,000,
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have two kids, and you're right, we have standard deductions and we have personal exemptions so that people making $5,000 a year don't get hit really hard with income tax. and yet those individuals are paying an effective tax rate more than mitt romney. as the gentleman from michigan pointed out, if you combine the different parts of the payroll tax, they're at 15%. mitt romney's at 13%. and you know what the buffett rule would do, the real one, the real one would say, for people like warren buffett and mitt romney, they should pay 30% on their income over $2 million. there's a phase in between $1 million and $2 million. that's what the real buffett rule does. and what adds insult to injury is that while mitt romney and republicans are proposing a tax plan that would actually give a tax break, a big break in the rate for folks at the very top,
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the nonpartisan independent tax policy center says, hey, guess what, they want to pay for that by increasing taxes on middle-income americans to the effect of about $2,000 a year more for an average middle-class family. those are people on top of the 47% who are just paying payroll taxes. so here we have a proposal by our republican colleagues to provide big tax breaks to folks at the very top and they want to come and make a mockery of the real buffett rule. the real buffett rule would actually generate $47 billion. is that going to solve our deficit problem? of course not. will it contribute to helping it? yes. if i could have another minute. mr. levin: i yield an additional one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. van hollen: that would actually raise some money to help reduce the deficit, ask for some shared responsibility. this bill is the pretty please
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bill, right? pretty please, warren buffett, pretty please, mitt romney, won't you help contribute a little bit more toward reducing our deficit? well, look, i can understand why people like mitt romney would love this bill, because it asks nothing more of them at a time when we should be taking a balanced approach toward reducing our deficit. just last week we had a debate here about sequester. everybody agreed, republicans and democrats, it would be really bad to have these across-the-board cuts take place. we talked about the negative impact on defense. also on the f.b.i., on border security. you know what, we had a proposal to pay for part of that to prevent the sequester with the buffett rule and some other cuts. our republican colleagues talked about the terrible consequences of the cuts but they just don't want to pay for them. they don't want to ask the
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american people to contribute one more penny. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, reserves. the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp, is recognized. mr. camp: i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin. mr. levin: i've been thinking this is really mislabeled. why don't we call it the mitt romney rule act of 2012? he paid the return he indicated less than 15%. he earned many, many millions. he knew what the code now says. he could have sent some of the money that was not taxed to the government. all he had to do -- he could use a credit card. but he hasn't done that. so i mean this is mislabeled.
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it has nothing to do with mr. buffett. there's been some reference here to small business. the very nonpartisan entities indicate that 97% of people who are in small business and beyond, 97% have income actually around $250,000 or less. so, look, all this bill does is to indicate what's already in the code so there's nothing wrong with the bill. what is wrong is this frightful mislabeling to try to recover up a refusal of the republican party in this institution to face up to what is really necessary to be done. i yield back the balance of my
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time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp, is recognized. mr. camp: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. camp: i can understand why my friends on the other side are talking about everything but the bill before us and that's because this administration -- excuse me -- record on the deficit is so dismal. we are going on the fourth $1 trillion deficit. it is $16 trillion. what we need to do is grow this economy and create jobs and we know that their tax increases that they love so much would cost us 700,000 jobs. i mean, will be at this. 43 months of unemployment over 8%. that's why they want to talk about everything but this. the question is how to reduce the deficit. the fact of the matter is this bill does reduce the deficit. according to the joint committee on taxation, by $135
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million. now, they may not think that's much but to every american every $1 million counts. so i think it's important we move forward on this, that we grow our economy, that we grow our economy to create jobs and we know that taxes on small businesses that they proposed costs us jobs. let's pass this bill. it's a step forward. we all hear it as we go around the country people say, i'd like to give more. how do i do it? this makes it easier. it makes it straightforward and actually is scored as reducing the deficit. let's vote to make a step for reducing the deficit. we have bigger issues we need to deal with. that's why this committee, ways and means, has been focused on tax reform this year, more than 20 hearings. i hope we can move forward on fundamental tax reform. let's vote for this bill. let's give those americans who want to be more generous, who want to check a box and contribute more specifically to deficit reduction a very transparent, straightforward
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and easy way to do that. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, mr. camp, yields back. all time has expired. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 6410. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 5044, to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to exclude from gross income any discharge of indebtedness income on education loans of deceased veterans, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5044, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986, to exclude from gross income any discharge of indebtedness income on education loans of deceased
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veterans. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. johnson, and the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, will each control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. johnson. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. johnson: mr. speaker, h.r. 5044, the andrew carpenter tax act, was introduced by the gentleman from tennessee, mr. desjarlais, in honor of lance corporal andrew carpenter who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this nation's freedom while serving in afghanistan. and i'm a proud co-sponsor of the bill. mr. speaker, i'd like to thank the gentleman from tennessee for his leadership in addressing a tax problem facing families of deceased service members who have had their student loans forgiven. right now our tax code considers forgiven student loans co-signed by the service
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member's family as taxable income. this is just wrong for our nation's military families and that's what the gentleman from tennessee's bill is all about. it would change the tax code so that i.r.s. will no longer be able to hit families of deceased service men and women with a tax bill on a forgiven debt. you see, mr. speaker, the life of a military family is not easy. it's admirable and we must never forget that when one member of the family serves, all the family serves. in a small but important way this bill is really about protecting our armed forces and their family it's. just as they protect our -- families. just as they protect our freedoms every day. they need to know their country is behind them. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas, mr. johnson, reserves his time. the gentleman from michigan,
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mr. levin, is recognized. mr. levin: i yield myself such time as i shall consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: this bill does address an issue that needs consideration. lieutenant carpenter died serving this nation. he possessed outstanding student loans. the lender waived repayment by his parents who were obligated on the loans. present policy would require his parents to pay taxes on the value of that repayment. the congress must act to ensure that families of brave men and women do not face undo hardship -- undue hardship in the face of tragedy. unfortunately this bill has not been the subject of a single hearing or markup in the committee of jurisdiction, ways and means. as a result this bill has no legislative history to which
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agencies or taxpayers can turn to answer any questions that should arise. while technical changes were made in this bill, from the bill's introduction to its consideration on the house floor today, the tax still leaves many questions unanswered. including deficiencies with respect to definition of terms in the bill. the tax treatment of debt for give -- forgiveness is a broad and important issue. and while this bill will cover the tax treatment of one class of debt, for one class of taxpayers, i think many in this body might believe that other classes of taxpayers should be able to receive such tax treatment. so therefore in the absence of regular order on this bill, but recognizing the need to address the impact of our tax laws on those who have served our
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nation and their families, i believe we should pass this legislation, send it to the senate with the expectation that it will address outstanding technical and coverage issues. with that i reserve the balance of my time and ask that the balance of our time on this bill now be handled by the gentleman from washington, a member of our committee, mr. mcdermott. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from texas, mr. johnson is recognized. mr. johnson: i now yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from tennessee, the sponsor of this legislation, mr. desjarlais. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. desjarlais: i thank the gentleman. mr. speaker, before i begin my remarks, i want to take a few moments to thank majority whip kevin mccarthy, majority leader eric cantor, and ways and means chairman dave camp for their help in bringing this worth while piece of legislation to the house floor. in addition i want to say a
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special thanks to congressman sam johnson for his work and guidance through the process. i also want to recognize and thank the family of lance corporal andrew pete carpenter for bringing this matter to my attention. i am truly humbled to have had the honor of introducing the andrew p. carpenter tax act. we are all familiar with the verse in john that says, greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. on february 19, 2011, due to wounds suffered while on a combat mission in the province of afghanistan, lance corporal andrew carpenter did indeed lay down his life for his friends and country. a graduate of columbia central high school in 2002, andrew enlisted in the united states marine corps in 2007 and was assigned to the third battalion, eighth marine regiment, second marine division, second marine expeditionary force out of camp
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lejeune, north carolina. he was serving his second tour in afghanistan. leaving behind a wife, chrissy, and soon to be born son, landen, andrew gave his life in defense of our nation and the cause of freedom. in a fitting tribute to his and his family's sacrifice, the city of columbia, tennessee, held a memorial service that sent a clear message that his valor would not be forgotten. unfortunately the aftermath of this outpouring of support was soon tarnished by the grim hand of the internal revenue service. as hard as it is to believe, mr. speaker, the pain and anguish of his parents and wife were compounded by a tax bill from the internal revenue service for over $1,000 due to the fact that an educational loan from a private institution was forgive be. -- forgiven. imagine the dismay of having to bury a son, daughter, husband or wife that had paid the ultimate sacrifice only to have the i.r.s. say, you haven't
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paid enough. three years prior andrew had taken out a private educational loan. after learning that andrew had been killed in action, the company administering the loan agreed to pledly for given the debt -- forgive the debt. however, the i.r.s. did not. upon forgiveness of the debt, the family who had co-signed the loan received a 1099-c form informing them that the debt discharged would be factored into their gross taxable income for that year. not knowing what the tax bill was for, the family paid the tax and then contacted my office and brought this matter to my attention. as a newly elected congressman, this was a rude introduction to just how broken our federal system was. mr. speaker, the legislation before us today attempts to shield american families from ever having the i.r.s. add to their loss by callously presenting them with a tax bill. simply my bill amends the internal revenue code to exempt
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private student loan forgiveness for being categorized as gross taxable income for families of veterans who have lost their life while serving an active duty in the united states armed forces. it is important to note that this bill would not make it mandatory for private lenders to forgive educational loans. private loan companies would still have the option of whether or not to forgive a loan. having lost their son in afghanistan, the carpenter family is comforted by the knowledge that andrew died a hero. his memory lives on in his son. it is for them and all those who may have or may face similar hardships that i urge that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5044. and i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee yields back his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from washington is recognized. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. oh, wait a minute. excuse me. ms. jackson lee, i yield three
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minutes to ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, is recognized for three minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the subcommittee ranking member on the ways and means committee for his leadership and i thank my friend from texas, congressman johnson, for managing and the sponsor of this legislation as well. let me rise in support of what i think is a recognition and not simple, but a recognition of the sacrifice that families make and those who remain behind after our soldiers fall in battle or fall pursuant to a service-related injury. and to not have the added burden of having any for given debt be included as income to the -- to be assessed by the i.r.s. i believe this is a fair and
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important collaborative exercise of reasonable response to taxation. and i hope as we come together around veterans and this removal of this burden we can clearly see pathways to address the question of tax reform that responds to working americans. that protects working americans. for that is obviously what this family is. they sent a son off to war or a daughter off to war or a mother or father or uncle or aunt, cousin. america is about family. and therefore now we have the legislate response that they would not -- legitimate response that this would not, through some procedural snafu, be burdened by having that forgiven debt be part of the remaining family's income, particularly those who may have co-signed. i know the fallen soldier would
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not want that to happen. as i stand here i could not help make mention as well of the resolution that saluted the fallen in libya. h.res. 7086. i just wanted to acknowledge the passion that all americans have for embass -- for ambassador john christopher stevens, foreign administration officer, sean smith, and security officers, tyronne s. woods, glen a. doggedy. i've often said that terrorism is franchised. it does not have to be an army of millions or thousands, it doesn't have to be a battalion. it doesn't have to be anything but one wanting to do evil. and therefore it is important to say to the families of these men and women, of these men in particular, and others that fell, and others that were injured, and the men and women that served as our face --
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civilians faced, if you will, and embassy and counselors across the world, particularly those who have served in the horrific backdrop of 9/11 and in the region that is now overwhelmed with conflict. it is so to say to their families that our priority will be to offer you sympathy and to mourn with you, to love you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. mr. mcdermott: i yield the gentlelady an additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: thank you. is to mourn and to love you and to indicate that we will not allow divisiveness to fall on the issue of who did it. what we will do is to raise the flag as americans and even-handedly and quickly investigate the source of this horrific incident to your family members. we will not let their memory be diminished by squabbling about pointing the finger as much as pointing the finger as much as it